Offshore Drilling: Low Bills vs. Big Spills

工作者清理海洋漏油。Tigergallery / Shutterstock.

在海上石油中有很大的钱,都感谢8亿年前死亡的藻类,沉没在海底下面,并将压力煮进石油。但是有很大的风险:当这些粘性鬼魂逃脱他们的坟墓并奔跑amok - 因为他们在2010年墨西哥墨西哥泄漏 - 他们经常回来困扰生活,这可能对环境施加大麻烦,这经济甚至人类健康。

With such high stakes involved, the United States faces a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to offshore drilling. Oil has been the No. 1 U.S. fuel for a century, but domestic production peaked in 1973, and the country has been导入比它的更多油since 1994 in a race to keep up with demand. And even though America's top foreign oil supplier is Canada, not the Middle East, political pressure for more domestic, offshore oil drilling has been growing for years.

当奥巴马总统宣布计划结束美国水域新的海上钻井三十年禁止禁止新近的海上钻井时,这一压力达到了危重。该举措被广泛被视为国会上海钻井倡导者的橄榄枝,提供了一个可能赢得气候变化法案的支持的妥协。它为墨西哥湾的新钻井铺平了新的钻孔,以及东海岸的第一个石油钻井平台,而在它吸引了环保主义者的埃时,只有分散的公众批评。

Within a few weeks, though, the tides suddenly turned. An explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers on April 20, and two days later — the 40th anniversary of Earth Day —the rig sankto the sea floor, starting what is now being called the worst oil spill in American history.

经过周数的深海油井无情泄漏,美国海上钻井的未来已经增长了MURKIER和MURKIER。诸如加州古罗基州施瓦辛格和佛罗里达州佛罗里达州哥伦比亚的前支持者已经撤回了他们的支持,至少七个国会委员会正在调查石油公司以及联邦监管机构,奥巴马总统任命一个独立的小组来研究出了什么问题。美国内部部门还在修改其机构,规定石油公司,停止其计划,以便在北极海中钻探到2011年,甚至是墨西哥湾的现有深水石油钻井平台六个月。最近几周,两个突出的联邦官员负责海上钻探,在腐败和腐败的指控中宣布了辞职。戒油公司坚持深海原油是安全的,将2010年湾泄漏作为令人遗憾的事故。在证词到国会,石油业主老板,钻机业主跨界和分包商哈里伯顿队朝着彼此掀起了罪魁祸首,每次都突出了其合作伙伴的错误和快捷方式。甚至在墨西哥湾的海上钻井环境,经济和政治乱突中,该行业仍在达到倾向于在那里和其他地方扩张:壳牌石油未能放弃在阿拉斯加的博览会和Chukchi海上钻探的计划而弗吉尼亚州长鲍勃麦克唐尼尔也仍愿钻取他州的海岸的石油。根据最近的一项相关新闻投票,尽管目前溢出,大约50%的美国人仍然支持更多的海上钻井。

那么油溢出的危险程度真的是多么危险?海上钻井风险如何?它会扩大更多美国海岸吗?所有这些问题的答案现在可能浮过了墨西哥湾,这已成为阻止深水油泄漏的技术以及它们释放的模糊羽毛的技术测试场。在中期选举之前的波涛汹涌的政治水域越来越多地扼杀了美国海上钻井的前景,但希望有一些清晰度,MNN展示了以下观看行业的风险,奖励,过去,目前和潜在未来。

海上钻井的诞生

警报oplmen夏天,加利福尼亚州。,已经注意到多年来,富有成效的井经常靠近海滩,但在1800年代后期,当地名叫亨利L.威廉姆斯成为第一个冒险的海上冒险。威廉姆斯建造了一个300英尺脚的木码头进入太平洋的太平洋world's first offshore rig而且更快地沿着海岸涌现,最长的伸展超过1200英尺进入海洋。基于码头的油钻迅速传播全国各地到1911年,到了1891年至1891年的俄亥俄州的大湖,到了路易斯安那州的湖泊卡德多。

早期炼油厂花了几十年来攻门相对浅的水域,Kerr-McGee Co.于1947年钻井井,位于路易斯安那海岸10.5英里。除了开辟一个新的海底石油勘探世界外,这一新一代的独立离岸钻机使用了钢铁电缆和钻石钻等技术,最近开发用于陆上钻井。行业持续飙升至1969年1月29日,当时夏天南部六英里的石油平台遭遇井喷,八天内将420万加仑溢出到太平洋。潮汐带来了在圣巴巴拉县岸上的石油幻灯片,在死豹,海豚和海鸟一起洗涤。这场灾难引发了公众愤怒,并刺激了海上石油钻井的一系列新的联邦法规,甚至在1981年的国会禁令。

但随着1989年阿拉斯加毁灭性的埃克森·瓦尔尔尔兹溢油泄漏的回忆,需求上升和减少生产的海上油也忽视了忽视。墨西哥西部和墨西哥湾的生产和勘探继续,而现有的井是在加州南部和石油公司中开发的,克服了阿拉斯加北部海岸。Although the 2010 Gulf oil spill has cast doubts on the future of some oil-drilling proposals, recent events in Washington, D.C., suggest parts of the Gulf, the Atlantic and Alaska may nonetheless invite in more high-tech oil rigs like the Deepwater Horizon.

海上石油钻井平台的类型

自从120年前的第一艘油码头队以来,海上钻井已经走向了太平洋。石油公司现在拥​​有一系列选项,以便自来水,从1,000英尺深的固定平台钻机到10,000英尺深的“翼梁平台”,这是由平均的大量气缸举起的130英尺宽。许多较新的类型offshore rigswere first developed and tested in the Gulf of Mexico, including floating production systems like the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank in April.

架子自信

北美外壳钻井油钻井的好处很难忽视。美国每天消耗超过8亿加仑的石油,但生产不到3亿,迫使国家每天进口近5亿加仑,以弥补差异。最大的外国供应商是加拿大,每天提供约1.08亿加仑,但随着10200万加入来自中东,委内瑞拉每天贡献5000万,进口较少外国石油的渴望是国会大厦的罕见成绩联系爬坡道。然而,通常仍然会出现争论,而不是如何替换这些进口。

About 36 percent of what U.S. oil fields do produce today comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and according to 2006 estimates by the U.S. Minerals Management Service, there may be 1.7 trillion gallons of undiscovered, recoverable oil in the Gulf alone — enough to last U.S. consumers more than five years if relied upon entirely. The MMS suspects there may be some 3.6 trillion gallons hidden under U.S. offshore waters overall. Throw in 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and the Outer Continental Shelf starts to look like an energy goldmine (not to mention its offshore wind potential).In addition to the offshore oil industry's role as an energy provider, it's also a major employer and taxpayer, supporting more than 35,000 jobs along the Gulf Coast and paying some $10 billion in royalties each year. As longtime onshore oil fields like East Texas and Prudhoe Bay dwindle, oil companies have their sights set on the sea — especially the Gulf of Mexico, which is already home to nearly4000个石油生产平台和约175 exploratory drilling rigs现在的问题主要是在完全新的平台will emerge, and, as oil washes onto U.S. shores in at least two states, what effects more oil drilling might have on the surrounding environment.

Spill waters run deep

Oil is a naturally occurring substance, but since there aren't normally big plumes of it flowing through the ocean all at once, mostanimals没有对其毒性的宽容不断发展。原油含有苯,一种已知的致癌物,以及一种其他碳氢化合物,可在大剂量中立即有毒,例如己烷,甲苯和二甲苯。但是,石油的最早和最引人注目的伤害中最早和最引人注目的伤害与其一致性比其内容更加有关。目的原油可以堵塞鲸鱼和海豚的口干孔,收集在牡蛎和贻贝的喂料过滤器中,覆盖防水外套海鸟和海獭(图为)。鱼蛋,虾,水母和海龟都可以被漏油泄漏杀死,而且许多鸟类通过吞下这种油来使东西更糟。如果它阻止阳光从表面下降到藻类,油可以影响整个食物链,也可能会产生“死区," since the specialized bacteria that eat oil must consume oxygen in the process.When scientists measured oil plumes streaming out of the Deepwater Horizon oil well earlier this month, they found levels of oxygen in the surrounding water were 30 percent lower than normal.

When oil reaches land, shorelines like the Gulf Coast face particularly high risks because their rugged marshes and bayous are more absorbent and harder to clean than most beaches. Still, many environmentalists are even more concerned about oil spills in Alaska's Arctic Ocean, where Shell Oil had planned to begin drilling this summer before President Obama announced a temporary freeze on drilling there. The area is so remote and ecologically rich, conservationists warn, that loose oil could be more damaging and persistent than on other U.S. coasts, especially when sea ice forms in winter. The MMS recently asked Shell to improve its Arctic safety protocol in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, to which the company replied that it will have a pre-made "containment dome" on site, similar to the one that failed to stop the Gulf leak, and would launch an "unprecedented" response if a spill occurred.The environment isn't the only victim in oil spills, however — on top of threatening both human and animal health, spills can also endanger the economy.当时当局已关闭大约20%的墨西哥湾今年捕鱼,因为石油幻灯片蔓延,留下许多沿海渔民和餐馆没有收入来源。海湾海岸商业渔民通常比卷轴$600 millionof total revenue each year, including nearly60%这个国家的牡蛎捕获和虾的四分之三。泄漏东海岸可能会类似地污染牡蛎床附近Chesapeake湾,国家最大的河口,可能伤害佛罗里达州的旅游,这占其总经济的近6%。(当然,佛罗里达州和东海岸也可能遭受漏油即使没有大西洋钻井,因为专家已经担心海湾的“环流”将携带佛罗里达群岛周围深水地平线油。)

溢油的危险甚至可能不会阻止油本身。最近几周的飞机将化学分散剂喷涂到海湾油闪光上,旨在将其分解成较小的大块,这些大块可以更容易地通过油菜微生物消化。化学物质通过在海洋中稀释油来帮助沿海野生动物,防止粘糊糊的大型羊肉到达岸边,他们也使得鲸鱼将在口干孔中窒息。但是,分散剂本身也有毒,而EPA最近授予BP允许继续使用它们 - 以及测试其水下的效果 - 该机构承认其不知道其生态效应可能是什么。

离岸前景

除了击中已经从大型风暴恢复的敏感区域,2010年墨西哥墨西哥泄漏还在美国海上能源问题上陷入困境。虽然奥巴马总统通过开门挖掘大西洋和海湾沿岸的地区的钻探,但环保团体正在争夺现有计划,以扩大南加州附近的海上钻井和阿拉斯加的北坡。即使是海上风电也被证明是有争议的,马萨诸塞州的对手仍然在4月份批准的美国内部秘书肯萨拉州的Cape Cod风电场。

The BP oil spill is shedding new light on the dangers of offshore drilling, since it left many of the world's top scientists and engineers scratching their heads for weeks. After remote-controlled submarines and a 98-ton containment dome failed to stop the leaking oil, BP turned to less conventional options, such as blasting a "junk shot" of golf balls and shredded tires into the leak, cutting the damaged pipes and siphoning oil to the surface, or shooting viscous drilling mud at the wellhead in a tactic known as a "top kill." A newly drilled relief well is seen as the only permanent solution, but since it will take months to finish, officials have been considering virtually any serious suggestions in the meantime.

回到表面上,另一个高赌注戏剧也展开,因为立法者和调查人员试图弄清楚导致爆炸引起11人并开始泄漏的爆炸。他们透露,哈里伯顿确实在它破裂之前巩固了井口天的工作,该BP选择了更便宜但更风险的选择用海水作为密封胶更换钻井泥,并且至少一个暗示的压力测试出错。一份报告还发现,MMS让BP绕过环境评估,然后钻井深水地平线的油井,甚至抑制了可能限制钻井的自己的生物学家的调查结果。作为对他代理机构与石油公司的舒适关系的批评,MMS负责海上钻井宣布两天后深水地平线爆炸,他将于6月30日退休,然后突然搬了他的最后一天到5月31日后几周后。5月27日,MMS的总体负责人也辞去了奥巴马政府的压力。

海上石油钻井的黑暗面越来越关注这个春天,并通过高调政治家的政策转变导致一些索取离岸钻井在水中死了。但该行业仍然在美国电力生产中发挥着重要作用,并在国会上拥有充足的盟友,最近的民意调查显示,大约一半的美国人仍然有利于扩大它。参议院拟议的美国权力法 - 一项气候条例草案结合了工业排放与其他能源相关措施的削减 - 旨在淬火此剩余的海上油脂,同时也会增加溢出和泄漏的保障措施。该法案将使各国更多的海上钻井投入和产出,让他们禁止联邦租赁销售额在其海岸的75英里,否决钻探计划,这些计划可以危及他们的环境,并在水域中收集更多的收入。但随着一些民主党人来说,一些民主党人的支持和批评,他的一些民主党人致电账单太弱,其成功机会仍不清楚。

与此同时,奥巴马政府正在努力将MMS分为三个部分,这是对原子能机构对机构的双重作用和利润的抱怨的回应。根据A的情况,MMS涉及乔治W.布什政府期间的主要伦理行为。2008年内部部门审核其中,该机构遭受了“物质滥用和滥交文化”,包括联邦雇员和行业代表之间的非法礼品,毒品和性不当行为。后来的调查发现,一些官员不仅从事不道德行为,而且至少承认使用Crystric Meth上的MMS钻机检查员,甚至可能在检查近海钻机时。新计划将创建单独的机构来收集来自能源公司的版税并规范他们,但可能不会影响在旧系统下的决定,包括北冰洋和墨西哥湾的现有租约。

Offshore wind, waves,渗透能量and "ocean thermal energy conversion" offer alternative methods of tapping the sea's power without drilling for oil or natural gas, but all are still years or even decades away from easing the burden on fossil fuels. Even with growing federal funds for renewable energy projects, offshore oil will almost certainly persist in the U.S. energy portfolio long into the future — and while technology and vigilance may improve after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, offshore drilling will always be haunted by the specter of another spill.