The oil and gas industry has had its fair share of challenges in recent years. Disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon may have had a negative public relations impact, but they also may have also played a role in improving oil drilling. In addition, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is making it possible to tap into previously unreachable reserves. Below are a few of the more noteworthy improvements in oil drilling.
Stronger, Better-Equipped Offshore Oil Wells
According to a How Stuff Works article on oil drilling, federal regulations implemented after the Deepwater Horizon disaster require that an engineer certify that the cement sealing that lines the hole in the seabed can withstand the pressures that will be applied to it (Source: "5 Improvements in Offshore Oil Drilling", How Stuff Works).
In addition, blowout protectors are being taken more seriously. These safety devices are designed to keep oil and gas from moving through the pipe too quickly. They must now be equipped with stronger shears that can cut through the outer pipe to stop the flow of oil despite high water pressure. Oil rig operators will be required to undergo more extensive training. In addition, blowout protectors will be subject to stricter inspection requirements.
Many offshore oil rigs are now equipped with their own fleet of robotic submarines. In the not-so-distant past, these were only brought in after a crisis. Today, they're on board just waiting until they are needed to perform routine or emergency maintenance. In fact, all offshore rigs must now have at least one robotic submarine on board as well as a properly trained staff. Modern robotic submarines and blowout protectors are being reworked so that the blowout protector can be shut off remotely by a remote operator using a robotic sub.
Improved Preparedness for Future Disasters
Remember all of the head scratching, brainstorming, and extreme measures that took place after the Deepwater Horizon accident? That was a wake-up call to the industry. In the last four years, the industry has become better prepared for disasters. For example, the Marine Well Containment Company, which consists of major oil producers, is developing more advanced well containment systems. BP's own Containment Disposal Project is based on lessons learned.
At the same time, the industry made improvements in tracking and controlling spills. Some of the tools available include thermal imaging, satellite and aerial photography, and infrared technology. These diverse tools can be used to deter the size and direction of a spill. Four huge oil skimmers are now at the ready to skim up the next spill.
Heavy Duty Degreasers
Using a degreaser is necessary to keep an oil-drilling operation running smoothly as well as reduce the risk of potentially disastrous problems. However, solvents and residue can impact local sea life and have their own environmental concerns. The introduction of eco-friendly heavy duty degreasers, such as G-Clean Heavy Duty Degreaser from E & B Green Solutions, make it possible to clean offshore oil rigs in an environmentally friendly manner. This product is made from organic, plant-based material and is non-toxic.
Oil drilling has undergone significant improvements in recent years. Today's oil rigs are better built and easier to maintain thanks to eco-friendly degreasers while their operators operators are better prepared and trained.
"5 Improvements in Offshore Oil Drilling", How Stuff Works, http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/5-improvements-offshore-oil-drilling.htm
Blain Johnson is the author of this article and he has a passion for keeping our environment green, clean and sustainable. Sources for this article can also be found at http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/products/heavy-duty-degreaser.