Crude Oil Extraction & Its Impact on Marine life


Crude oil has become an essential part of human life, especially in transportation industry. We are so relied on crude oil that, the country selling oil has almost control over the world transport network. Many vehicles and heavy machineries run on crude oil. Be it a two wheel motor cycle or any truck, bus, cruise ships, air plane or a military tank; every essential vehicle runs on petrol or any other petroleum products. We even have electricity generators which consumes petrol or diesel to supply electricity backup.

Oil industry is one of the largest employment providers for many around globe. Even though Gulf & Arab countries are the largest suppliers of crude oil they lack in human work force. They have a high number of foreign employees migrating for the job opportunities. But, this won’t last long, as we all are aware about crude oil reserves will vanish out from the earth’s crust as it is not a source of renewable energy.

Crude oil helped humans develop the complete infrastructure, as the time went around, the benefits turn into nightmare for all the living beings on planet. The major impact can be seen on aquatic environment; to be specific, on the entire marine life of oceans around the globe. The effects on marine life were live since the inception of finding the oil under sea water.

Deep water Oil and Gas industry

Industrial exploitation of oil and gas reserves has occurred in shallow marine areas since 1897, when the wells drilled at sea from piers in Summerland, California, first produced oil. By the 1960s, this drilling had moved into deeper offshore areas as easily accessible resources declined, technology for offshore drilling improved, and large reserves of hydrocarbons were discovered.

Currently, drilling for oil and gas is routine in all offshore environments, with major deep-water (>200 m) production in areas such as the Arctic, northern North Atlantic Ocean (UK and Norwegian waters), East and West Africa, Gulf of Mexico, South America, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Ultra-deep-water (>1000 m) production is still in its early stages and is likely to increase in the coming years, with the most active development in the Gulf of Mexico, where major reserves are being accessed in waters as deep as 3000 m.

Gas-hydrate extraction is still in the development phase, and while many of the conclusions and recommendations included here could be applied to that nascent industry, we do not explicitly consider those activities here.

Deep-water exploration involves multiple steps, typically starting with acoustic remote sensing (seismic surveys) to understand the subsurface geology and potential hydrocarbon reservoir architecture. If suitable targets are detected, one or more exploration wells are drilled to ground-truth the interpretation of the acoustic data and determine the nature of the reservoir.

If economically recoverable hydrocarbon reserves are located, the site may advance to production. This typically involves the drilling of one or more appraisal wells followed by several production wells and the installation of various surface (e.g., floating production, storage, and offloading vessels) and subsea infrastructure (e.g., manifolds, control cables, and export lines).

How Oil affects Marine life?

Oil destroys the insulating anility of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird’s feathers, thus exposing these creatures to the harsh elements. Without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia.

Juvenile sea turtles can also become trapped in oil and mistake it for food. Dolphins and whales can inhale oil, which can affect lungs, immune function and reproduction. Many birds and animals also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves, which can poison them.

Fish, Shellfish, and corals may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is mixed into the water column – Shellfish can also be exposed in the intertidal zone. When exposed to oil, adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart & respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproduction impairment. Fish eggs and larvae can be especially sensitive to lethal and sub-lethal impacts. Even when lethal impacts are not observed, oil can make fish and shellfish unsafe for humans to eat.

What can we do now, to stop this?

In general, oil spills can affect marine culture under the water and above the water in two ways: from the oil itself and from the response to cleanup or purification operations. Understanding both types of impacts can help filtration & spill responders minimize overall impacts to ecological communities and help them to recover much more quickly.

– by Parag Ahire

One Comment on “Crude Oil Extraction & Its Impact on Marine life”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.