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Extreme Oil
Photo of oil refinery
The Journey The History The Science
Interactive Feature: Which oil extraction method is best? You decide using there pros and cons
On Land Offshore Tar Sands


Offshore Drilling
Technology has made it possible to extract crude oil from deep beneath the ocean floor, and many of today's largest oil fields have been tapped by offshore drilling rigs.

Advantages: Drawbacks:
Big Finds: Many huge oilfields lie beneath the sea. Major offshore discoveries in Mexico, the North Sea, and West Africa have all fueled the boom in drilling.

Smooth Operator: Because they are largely isolated from communities, offshore projects may be easier to negotiate with host governments or require less stringent environmental impact studies.

Public Perception: Offshore rigs create limited observable impact on local communities. Offshore production facilities are also more insulated from the threat of sabotage.
Money: Offshore development ventures require heavy investment. Deep-water enterprises require favorable geology and extensive exploration before oil companies will place a bet on them.

Environmental Damage: Studies show that waste discharged from offshore rigs, including drilling "muds," drill cuttings, and produced formation water, can have significant impacts on marine environments.

Completion: Disposal of abandoned or decommissioned offshore rigs is a tricky business. While some platforms can be moved or recycled, some must be sunk with explosives.


Learn how to extract oil from tar sands. Click here to continue.
Photo of truck in the tar sands
Trucks such as this work in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. Click above to learn more.


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