Environmental threats from marine oil exploration

Oil as one of the most important energy for economy development, always bring enormous economic benefits to the countries and societies. Therefore, economic entities and countries is developing the marine oil exploration positively nowadays. During the same time, it is hard to ignore the environmental threats from oil exploration. Based on this point, how could exploration impact the environment and ecosystem? What are some mains threats from marine oil exploration?


Generally, there are four main stages of environmental pollution from marine oil exploitation:

1. Geological and geophysical determination, and test of oil and gas quantity (seismic exploration and drilling methods)

2. Preparation of oil/natural gas exploitation

3. The exploitation of oil and gas (include installation of fixed drilling platforms, testing, laying pipelines etc.)

4. The delay/remove/stop of the project


Some of specific activities of each stage of oil exploitation impact the environment and ecosystem, especially in the water, under the sea and air in a complex manner, it also could produce physical effects, chemical changes, and ecological changes of the local ecosystem.


Beyond the four stages, the main environment threats are:


1. In the process of exploitation, it is easy to destroy nature rock and soil of seabed, which could affect the living environment of marine organism. In the process of drilling, the mud is extracted from the bottom with rocks and then entering to the nearby sea area, will strongly affect the marine organism. From the research, the oil much has the strong toxicity, the high concentration oil mud could directly bring death to the marine organism.

2. Drilling, the drilling fluid, underwater cutting works, painting, and the protection of platform, will cause pollution to the around environment. For example, drilling fluid is an integral part of drilling and oil exploitation, but contains lots of complex and harmful chemicals, which will destroy the underwater environment.

3. In the other hand, transportation, and storage of oil exploitation, will increase the turbidity of seawater, and effect the cleanliness of seawater. This appearance not only affects the human use of the ocean, but also affects the ocean itself on the global climate and ecological regulation.

4. In the last, the abandoned of platform, often cause pollution to the marine environment.



MIEHELLEMG, NORMANAR,MOOREMN,etal.Immuneinhibition in marine mussels by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon .MarineEnvironment Research ,1996 , 42 (1 - 2) :183-186.

HONGLIANG, ZHANG, Research on Ecosystem and marine oil exploration. 2010



lagohsep via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

ocean oil platform/ ABC



Zhao, D. (2017). Environmental threats from marine oil exploration. Retrieved from http://www.bluecommunity.info/view/article/589127b60cf2204d222d9987

1 Comment

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Scott Sanders wrote: 02-01-2017 20:05:44

Great article. Like many of you, I am not a big fan of the big oil companies. The damage that has been done and is continuing to be done from marine oil exploration is maddening. With these oil companies making such huge profits, they should be using these excess funds for research on operating cleaner and more efficiently instead of draining the Earth's resources to squeeze every penny out of it.