Impacts of Oil Extraction on the Environment

Impacts of Oil Extraction on the Environment

Oil, as a commodity, has a very high demand. Whereas most people will not argue about its importance, whether not to access and extract oil below the earth’s surface is an ongoing debate.

Habitat Disruption

One of the most common impacts of oil drilling is the disruption of the environment. The process of oil drilling is known to destroy most natural habitats. The pipes to gather oil, stations, roads, and other oil extraction structures also compromise large portions of habitats. For instance, oil drilling in Alaska can interfere with areas where animals like the polar bears give birth leading to a reduction in their already small population.

New advances like global positioning systems, seismic technology, and satellites luckily help the researchers get oil reserves before they drill, leading to fewer wells. The wells also get smaller than they used to be in the past.

Increase in Beached Marine Mammals

Whereas seismic technology can reduce marine habitats’ damage, its use can have severe consequences, especially for deep-sea life. There is, unfortunately, a correlation between the seismic noise and increased beached marine mammals like beached whales. Seismic noise can therefore disorient marine mammals, making them beach themselves. The death of these mammals will impact the delicate web of marine life.

Oil Spills at Sea

Deep-sea drilling can explode, spilling or leaking oil into the sea. Accidents when transporting oil can also dump oil into the sea. Oil spills have adverse effects on the environment, damaging habitats and killing organisms that live in the sea by destroying their food sources, sticking, and poisoning them. Besides, oil hurts the economy by harming trades that rely on the ocean, like the fish industry.

Reef Building

Despite having many adverse effects on the environment, there is some positivity in the oil process. Deep-sea wells are usually plugged when they are no longer profitable, and the rigs turned over. This allows the rigs to become reefs. These reefs become home to different species of marine organisms.

These are some of the impacts of oil extraction that an oil exploration company needs to have in mind before venturing into an area to start oil production.…