Impacts of oil drilling on the environment is not only a concern of citizens, but also of oil companies. These companies are not just after the profits they can make out of the drilling project, but they are also truly concerned about possible environmental impacts. Great efforts are also made by oil companies to reduce the risk of damaging the environment when drilling for oil.
Here are ways to reduce environmental impacts when drilling:
Off Shore Drilling
When oil is drilled offshore, there is the risk of possible spills and physical damage of the environment. There is also a concern regarding the emissions coming from the offshore drilling rigs. This is why all drilling rigs must conform to emission regulations to ensure that the equipment meet the air quality standards. Most rigs use low sulfur fuel and filters, which reduces and even eliminates emissions.
There is also a regulation on the number of barrels of drilling mud as well as cutting that is discarded into the ocean. The components and materials used are chemically inert, which are not harmful to the environment. Natural methods that won’t affect the ocean are also implemented to control the bacterial content.
It is very rare to reach maximum limitations. When the drill rig is running at full speed continually, they are constantly calculated as well. It is a mandate that actual use of the rig must be less than the allowable maximum limit.
Aquatic wildlife is also considered, so seismic wave use is restricted when there are whales and dolphins in the area, as these creatures use sonar. When you use seismic wave in the presence of these animals, it can interfere with their natural existence, change migration patterns, and even cause some whales to shore themselves.
Land Based Drilling
When drilling wells and other excavation sites, accessibility is a priority. Drilling equipment as well as workers must be able to reach the site without damaging the surrounding environment. Thus, roads must be created specifically for the site drilling accessibility. Environmental impact of the drilling operation can be kept at a minimum or as much as possible be eliminated with proper planning. As much as possible, drilling companies will work to restore the area to its previous state if the site is no longer used.
The number of platforms set up per well is restricted at the drill site, which reduces negative environmental impacts. The effects of oil drilling on the environment is further reduced with the advancement of technology that makes horizontal drilling possible. This method requires fewer wells to be built. One well drilled allows accessibility to several oil reservoirs.
Continued research on the effects of drilling on the environment and the wildlife in the area are being done to help create more ways to reduce the impact not only today, but also in the future. Scientists and researchers are looking at eliminating both short-term and long-term environmental impacts of drilling.
Studies and researches even include the effects on wildlife breeding and raising the young. Any interruption of these natural phenomena can lead to a drop of the population of the wildlife or even extinction, which disturbs the balance of the ecosystem and affect the food chain in a terrible way.
More drilling techniques here.