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Detailed Summary - Mary Annette Rose beings her essay The Environmental Impacts of Offshore Oil Drilling by explaining the characteristics of

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Mary Annette Rose beings her essay “The Environmental Impacts of Offshore Oil Drilling” by explaining the characteristics of petroleum. Rose exemplifies the difficulties that lay behind forming fossil fuels informing the readers it takes millions of years of heat and pressure applied to prehistoric vegetation and animals for complex mixtures of hydrocarbons and other minor constituents to produce crude oil. Rose then goes on to describe the difference of lighter oils, which tend to be more reactive and flammable to the heavier oils which contain cancer- causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and several other toxins. Rose presents a challenged faced by oil exploration and production. Drilling into deep parts of the ocean produces a change in pressure that increases as the depth increases. Oil workers must use pressured drilling fluids to offset the difference of high-pressure and high- temperature gases that if not contained pose threats of oil-well blowouts emitting oil, produced water, and pressurized natural gas. Rose illustrates the damaging effects of blowouts with the Santa Barbara, California event that spilled 80-100,000 gallons of crude oil killing thousands of birds, fish, and marine mammals. However, she explains further “this pales in comparison to the 1979 blowout at the Ixtoc 1 offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which spewed an estimated 140 million gallons of crude oil” taking nine months to regain control. The frequency of these blowouts has been reduced thanks to modern technology and the research and monitoring systems of the Departments of Interior’s Minerals Managements Service but it does not stop weather, equipment failures, human error, tectonic events, and transportation accidents from producing a spill. Rose addresses different hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita which destroyed 600 pipelines and spilled 17,700 barrels of petroleum and hurricane Gustav and Ike which destroyed 60 platforms. Additionally, Rose exposes the dramatic volume and type of waste produced in offshore
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2010 for the course PH 122 taught by Professor Jones during the Spring '08 term at Colorado State.

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Detailed Summary - Mary Annette Rose beings her essay The Environmental Impacts of Offshore Oil Drilling by explaining the characteristics of

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