Close to two years after one of the worst oil spills in United States history, oil drilling is still thriving in the Gulf of Mexico, the scene of last year’s tragic Deepwater Horizon incident in which a BP oil tanker exploded and released thousands of gallons of oil into Gulf, causing extensive environmental damage and the loss of 11 lives.
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico for three months, it was thought that the petroleum industry would be seriously affected. Many workers on oil rigs and professional drillers were concerned that their careers would be over following the accident, as stringent regulations were placed on the industry as federal investigations into Deepwater Horizon were initiated.
The Obama administration placed a ban on drilling in the gulf while the investigations were underway, however the ban was lifted after less than 18 months and it is back to business as usual for oil drillers and other seamen. Some experts believe that despite the damage caused by the spill, the Gulf may produce as much in the future as it had in the past.
Currently, Shell has an oil platform, the Perdido, above the deepest section of the Gulf that is capable of drilling close to 10 000 feet under the surface. Competing petroleum companies have made it clear that they plan to set up platforms capable of drilling to such depths too, opening the possibility of previously unreachable oil reserves being made available for production. With the prospect of such rich oil reserves so close to home, it appears that the Deepwater Horizon incident is beginning to be pushed to the back of the government’s mind.
The effects of the BP spill are still evident on the coastlines surrounding the gulf, and it is thought that the sunk tanker, which was unable to be salvaged, may be seeping oil into the gulf to this day. However, despite these adverse effects, the oil drilling industry is continuing to move forward in leaps and bounds.
It is hoped that with the new technological advances being made in the drilling industry, oil rigs will become safer places to work on, both for the crew members and for the environment. Currently working on an oil rig is one of the most treacherous jobs in the world, and many seamen who are injured in accidents while on the job may need to seek legal recourse to gain financial compensation for their injuries.