- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Great Lakes Directional Drilling

Essay by   •  December 13, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,061 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,457 Views

Essay Preview: Great Lakes Directional Drilling

Report this essay
Page 1 of 5

Around the mitten shaped state of Michigan, five gigantic lakes encompass the coast. Providing a spot for vacationers, fisherman, and much wildlife, the Great Lakes are the pride and joy of Michigan. The history of the lakes stretches back thousands of years, where glaciers carved the lakes out of bedrock. These lakes provided a surplus of food and access to easy travel for settlers hundreds of years ago. People around the Great Lakes area appreciate the diversity of wildlife, scenery, and rarity of such landmarks. When the question of whether to drill in these lakes for oil and natural gas came up, it ignited many debates. Is our wildlife more important than oil to us? Or does the presence of oil and natural gas mean we can corrupt our environment and endanger many different types of species, along with ourselves?

We find ourselves in unique situation. A debate of whether it is right to dig up oil in the Great Lakes. The lakes are known to contain oil and natural gas, but what risk does that play to our environment? The two sides in this debate both have their valid points. It is right to preserve wildlife, but oil is also a highly valuable commodity in today's market. People often stress that we must take care of our planet because it is the only one we have. Why then do we destroy thousands of square miles of rainforest for wood? Why is there so much emphasis on industrialization, and not enough on the preservation of our Earth? Why do we need to use so much, nevertheless waste so much? Our environment and world is declining at a rate at which we cannot afford. It will be sad to see our planet in another few hundred years. We need to start preserving our environment, and not drilling our Great Lakes for oil is a great place to start. If we drill for oil, we will lose much wildlife, destroy habitats, have possible oil spills, and in fact endanger ourselves in the long run.

To extract such oil from under the Great Lakes, we would need to use directional drilling. To do this, the well is first drilled vertically, and then it is angled under the lakes at about four thousand feet to in fact reach the oil. This is a complicated process that had improved due to technology over the past twenty years. This is not the first time they have used this process in Michigan. By 1997, ten oil and gas wells had been drilled up in Northern Michigan. None of these produced oil, and only two produced natural gas. It is thought that only one in eleven wells produce substantial amounts of oil.

One major health risk, among others that arises from directional drilling is the presence of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). This is a highly toxic and colorless gas that is present in oil and gas reserves. The effects of this gas are deadly. In Northern Michigan last year a truck driver was transporting Sodium Hydrosulfide. He was instructed to the wrong tank in which the chemicals would be transferred. The combination of the chemicals in the tank produced Hydrogen Sulfide and the driver died immediately.

Accidents would also be a reason not to drill in the Great Lakes. Leaks could occur from the pipelines that transport the oil to the processing plants. You also have the chance of trucks spilling that are transporting the oil. Blowouts could also occur where the drill hits a pocket of natural gas and the oil would blowout in a stream similar to a geyser.




Download as:   txt (5.6 Kb)   pdf (83.9 Kb)   docx (10.9 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on