What to Know About Offshore Drilling

We all need gasoline and oil to operate our motor vehicles. Businesses use various petroleum products to create everything from plastic bottles to contact lenses to heat our homes. Offshore drilling received quite a bad rap in the past due to the Deep Water Horizon event. However, offshore drilling is a necessary business increasing our ability to mine oil from the deep recesses of the ocean.


Offshore drilling started in 1897 when the first platform was built off the coast of California. Starting close to the shore, the platforms became something that was able to sit on the water and enable workers to access the bottom of the ocean floor and the oil within. Texas moved into wetlands as early as 1928 with a barge. The barge became the basis for the floating platforms commonly seen in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico by companies like PRT Offshore. These platforms use an inline compensator as part of their operation.


The platforms house a vast amount of equipment. The oil rigs use a variety of equipment to find oil before they start drilling. Sniffer equipment searches seawater for traces of natural gas while a gravity meter looks for fluctuations in the gravity where oil may be flowing beneath the dirt and rock. Ships even use seismic surveying to find oil deposits before the platform is situated and drilling starts. A production well starts harvesting the black gold from a stable platform secured to the ocean floor using tethering cables or concrete and metal foundations.


Many oil workers live on the platforms that they work on. It is an expensive task to constantly bring workers to and from the platforms. Large platforms include the capacity to house hundreds of employees like a floating city on the water. The floating cities are designed to withstand the changing weather common on the open water. Even doctors may be employed on the rig to keep workers healthy during the operation.


Oil powers the modern economy from natural gas to vehicle and airplane fuel. With the ability to drill about 4,000 feet into the ocean floor, the companies can access more of the fossil fuels necessary to keep our country running. Until other energy resources become more viable and less expensive, offshore oil drilling remains a necessary part of the economy. Not to mention the other items we rely on in our daily lives made from the byproducts of oil.

About Reva B. Williams