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Offshore drilling

Related Terms

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Background

  • General: Offshore drilling is the extraction of petroleum products, such as oil and natural gas, from deposits in the seabed. These deposits may be located at great depths. Offshore drilling may take place near the shoreline or in a lake or sea. It typically requires sophisticated equipment. Drilling equipment is kept above sea level on large platforms that may be moveable and float on masts or poles anchored to the seafloor. Drilling for oil underwater is usually more challenging than oil extraction on land.
  • The environmental impact of offshore drilling is due mainly to the production of wastes during oil and natural gas drilling. These wastes take the form of water and solids extracted with the petroleum products. The water and solids produced during drilling may contain radioactivity that may be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.
  • Petroleum is a fossil fuel, a non-renewable fuel source made up of the fossilized remains of animals and plants exposed to extreme heat and pressure under the Earth's crust. In its liquid state, petroleum is known as crude oil and natural gas in its gaseous state. The solid form of petroleum may be called bitumen, tar, pitch, or asphalt. Petroleum consists of the elements hydrogen and carbon.
  • The exact chemical composition of crude oil varies depending on how much hydrogen and carbon the oil contains and in what arrangement. Most oil is composed of 82- 87% carbon by weight and 12-15% hydrogen by weight and a small amount of sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen. Crude oil can be separated into different products, including gasoline, kerosene, and lubricating oil, under different temperatures. Natural gas consists of mostly methane, and possibly other gases, such as propane and ethane.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Health Impact/Safety

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Future Research or Applications

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.