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Zebin Dholasaniya

ISM- Period 7
"Exploration and The Environment." Offshore 101: Offshore Oil and Gas Development. Web.
<http://s00.static-shell.com/content/dam/shell-new/local/country/usa/downloads/
alaska/os101-ch6.pdf>.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) estimates that every year, some 29 million gallons of
petroleum enter waters from human activity
The source of offshore spills from oil and gas activities is related to transportation
- Transportation of crude oil is the safest through pipeline; more susceptible to leakage
through fueling, offloading cargo or other vessel-to-vessel activities
Another source of offshore spills from oil and gas activities is related to drilling
- Unbalanced pressure in well leads to uncontrolled flow of petroleum to surface during
blowout, caused by improper drilling mud control or unexpected gas pockets
Method of preventing oil spills during drilling: mixing in drilling mud to counterbalance reservoir
pressure
- Pressure fluctuations and temperature predicted before drilling, and wells created and
designed accordingly
- Alarms and sensors warn operators before real threat occurs, allows operators to adjust the
system, close off pumps, shut down well
- Strong casing to prevent well collapse from high pressure, but if failed the installed Blowout
Preventer will seal off the well
Method of preventing oil spills in poor weather: highly accurate and continuous surveillance of
weather through computer modeling, radar, and satellite imagery
Method of preventing oil spills related to transportation: utilize pipelines and conduct seafloor
surveys for potential threats and for maximum environmental safety
Oil Spill Response: Mechanical Containment and Recovery
- Oil skimmers collect oil from sea surface and transfer to storage units
Oil Spill Response: Situ Burning
- Burning oil off the water or ice efficiently and safely
- Extensive experimentation has led to minimal negative environmental effect
Oil Spill Response: Dispersants
- Dispersants break down oil into small droplets which are then naturally recycled by bacteria
Oil Spill Response: Protecting Wildlife
- Hazing or herding utilized to move wildlife away from affected area
- Marine Mammal Monitoring and Mitigation program survey and record migration patterns
of animals through the use of sophisticated software and recorders on the seafloor
Oil Spill Response: Climate Control
- Reduce CO2 emissions, reduce flaring and in turn reduce global warming

This source recognizes the environmental threat caused by offshore oil exploration, lists the sources
of oil and gas spills, provides preventive measures to ensure environmental safety, and mentions
common responses and steps taken in case of an oil spill.