From: Christian Ramirez, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Published March 18, 2014 10:32 AM

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Offshore oil drilling: is it really necessary?

As we all know, oil is a very important energy resource the world needs for its everyday life. It is known that not only do most of the countries on the planet use it, but also it is a scarce resource, which means that in the near future, there will no longer be enough available oil that could be drilled and processed for future endeavors. The demand for oil has increased significantly throughout the past few years and other ways of obtaining this resource must be used more often. A form of oil drilling has emerged which is dangerous and is known as offshore drilling. Sounds like a good plan at first, going to the ocean where more oil can be found and at a faster rate, but is it really worth it? There should be an alternate to offshore drilling because of the many horrific and unfair problems that it brings to Americans, animals, and the overall environment.

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Offshore drilling is based on a couple of things. First, it is usually hundreds of miles away from land, and the object used to collect the oil is the oil rig. These big structures pierce a hole into the ocean's floor, creating an opening where the oil is found. The oil slowly goes into the pipe that has penetrated the ocean floor, which is usually about 200 to 500 meters away from the water's surface. This method has been used since the 19th century, and the inventors name was T.F. Rowland (naturalgas.org). Although it seems like a better alternative than onshore drilling, offshore drilling is a lot more challenging than it appears. This is so because of the fact that the water is not a steady surface, it moves a lot because of various tides and waves. It is much harder to go through the ocean floor when the structure above it could be moving back and forth, making onshore drilling many times easier and even more efficient than doing the same job in the middle of the ocean. 

The first big upset of offshore drilling that would come to mind would be British Petroleum's accident in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, where an oil leak spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf which caused a tremendous toll on the environment and the quality of water, along with many more consequences that perhaps can never be undone.

Read more at Wakefield High School.

Offshore drilling image via Shutterstock.

This story is part of the Collegiate Corner, a section of ENN dedicated to student work. Student contributions are welcome. All work in this column is the product of the student in its entirely. If you have questions about the Collegiate Corner or would like to submit please contact: rblackstone@enn.com.

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