Friday, November 9, 2007

Oil Production Helping the Environment

In beautiful areas around the world, natural gas and oil seepages naturally occur in the ocean, just off shore, much to the chagrin of environmentalists, citizens, and tourists alike. Animal life and fragile ecosystems can be adversely affected by these seepages as well, often times resulting in oil slicks floating on or just beneath the water’s surface and oil washed up on tranquil beaches. Natural seepage of hydrocarbons from the ocean floor in the Santa Barbara Channel represent some of the largest seepages by volume in North America and even the world. This haven for vacationers, bird watchers, and beach-goers has long been a mainstay in west coast oil and natural gas production, one just need look from the beach to catch glimpses of the offshore platforms on the horizon. While these platforms might seem like eyesores to some, most people would be surprised that studies show that the offshore drilling has actually proven beneficial to Santa Barbara’s air quality and water quality as well as harvesting the much needed petroleum products for use by its increasing population.

Researchers in Santa Barbara have found evidence that the natural seepage from the ocean floor releases mostly methane into the air and that the amount released is equal to twice the emission rate from all of the automobile traffic in Santa Barbara County. Researchers have also noticed the air getting progressively better since the main offshore platform, Platform Holly, began pumping the oil from the seepage in 1968. The more oil that has been pumped from the channel has decreased the pressure within the reservoir beneath the silt and rock on the ocean floor, thus decreasing the emissions by 50 percent or greater.

This reduction in seepage has had more visible effects as well. The air is cleaner, meaning less hazy sunsets, less trouble for allergy sufferers plagued by poor air quality, and less methane released means less effect to the ever depleting ozone caused by increased Californian population and their much loved automobiles. The beaches have shown promise from this reduction as well. Less natural seepage has helped remove nearly 30 barrels of oil per day from the surface of the sea, resulting in a 15 percent reduction in the amount of tar found on beaches within Santa Barbara County. Oil and natural gas companies like NorthernStar Natural Gas in Santa Barbara and Triple Diamond Energy Corp in Texas are doing their part to make the environment better while providing the fossil fuels American consumers desperately need.

About the Author: Bob Jent is the president of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties. For more information, visit

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