Talk:Offshore drilling

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2008 drilling issue[edit]

this should also cover the current political issue of offshore drilling

  • Okay: in the headlines, the issue seems to be sharply divided between advocates and opponents. Not much middle ground.
  • We should identify who supports or opposes offshore drilling; and with what limitations.
  • A link to the ANWR drilling debate might be good, if the issues are parallel
  • A bit harder will be listing the reasons the various parties give for supporting or opposing:
    Main factors I guess are environmental (don't pollute land or water, don't hurt wildlife (like caribou) and economic (supply and demand)
    Another factor (not sure if it's minor or major) is ideological, maybe. Some people think fossil fuel use is good (i.e., US should consume lots of energy to be wealthy and powerful) while others think it is bad (various reasons I'm not prepared to summarize, but possibly including "consumption is selfish", "American should not be so powerful", etc.

Those are my bullet points. Anyone want to help me write this? --Uncle Ed (talk) 00:16, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what "ANWR" signifies but I gather that the recent debate on offshore drilling on the american east coast is an underlying theme here. But it would be hard to write a general global-view article with your bullet points. For instance, to identify "who" supports or opposes it. There's no global debate for or against offshore drilling in itself, but plenty on individual projects, such as on the US east coast and outside Lofoten in Norway. A general article would not be suitable for describing the nuances and middle-grounds in the US debate. A separate article on it, perhaps in the style of Arctic Refuge drilling controversy may be more suitable.
When the article is fleshed out, it might be possible to return to Offshore drilling with some general remarks. For instance, in both the east coast and Lofoten case, there are plenty of oil installations "nearby". The gulf of mexico and the norwegian sea respectively. Opponents in both debates are therefore unlikely to oppose offshore drilling in principle, but focus on location-specific issues, such as it being close to the shore or threathening specific fisheries. EverGreg (talk) 07:36, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Section moved to discussion page[edit]

I took the liberty to move and repaste the section titled "debate" here. I'm not taking issue with the contents or the tone, but this new section is about the current debate in the US about coastal drilling. As I've described above, this is an important issue, but dosn't fit into the global viewpoint that a wikipedia article should have. It would be better suited in a new article, for instance US offshore drilling debate, which we could link to from Offshore drilling. The Arctic Refuge drilling controversy seems a good example of how wikipedia covers a similar controversy. EverGreg (talk) 14:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I've "spread the word" at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Environment. EverGreg (talk) 14:50, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
It's an unsourced speculative essay. The density of errors is too great to insult WP:OR by associating this with that. Insert {{fact}} every ten words and after it can approach WP:RS then examine the other policy and guideline problems. -- SEWilco (talk) 17:42, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd have to agree wholeheartedly with that. User:Uncle Ed above drew up a more promising approach to the US offshore drilling debate. EverGreg (talk) 19:52, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

The Debate[edit]

One issue that should be noted is the fact scientists don't actually know how much oil there is along our coasts in the first place. Some estimate a very little, others more, but an agreed upon figure remains elusive. Furthermore, conservative and liberal economists alike acknowledge that it will likely be around 10 years before the first drops of offshore oil will actually start entering into the economy. Furthermore, not until 2030 will, if there really is enough oil down there in the first place, will there be enough oil being produced to actually have a noticeable effect on the economy. Converted into dollars, that effect should be somewhere around only 3 or 4 cents per gallon of gas. Is the potential/inevitable environmental damage worth that no matter how great or small it is? The argument has been made that gas prices will drop when the coasts are opened up to oil companies. The "Supply and Demand" logic behind this is that the prospect of more oil being produced will create investment and effect stock prices such that the price of gas will go down before any oil is actually drilled. However, without going into the details of why that is not an entirely correct Supply and Demand hypothesis, everyday logic can be applied. The idea is sort of right, however it is meant to apply to supply changes expected to occur within a day or a week or a month. In the case of offshore drilling, we are talking about 10 to 20 or so years before a reasonable amount of oil is actually being produced. Prices aren't going to change in expectance of a rise in supply 15 years down the road. Furthermore, many scientists are saying world oil production will peek within the next 10 years and supply will start declining, thus raising prices. With rising demand for oil showing no signs of slowing, prices aren't going to stop rising. There will likely be up and down fluctuations of prices, but the overriding trend will be upward. Another argument for offshore drilling is that it will create a load of jobs, which indeed it may. However, being ugly and creating possible health hazards in the coastal waters, the drilling will hurt the tourist industry along the popular coasts, likely causing the loss of many other jobs. So really no long or short term benefit there either. Over the month of July offshore drilling has bounded its way onto the main stage of the 2008 presidential contest. As Americans feel the burden of $4+ gas prices, presidential hopeful John McCain has done an effective job of shifting the focus to offshore drilling, which has proven to be his strongest method of shifting the polls as American’s are looking for a way to easy there gas pump melancholy. McCain has clasped on to the idea of offshore drilling with the purpose of gaining traction in the polls. And who can blame him for it, he’s trying to win an election and it's a smart campaign move. But a smart campaign move is all it really is. Offshore drilling is really an unimportant issue that will have minimal long term effects on the economy whether it is passed or not. At best, it will only damage the environment a little bit, it will lower unemployment by 0.02 percent, and ten years from now it will cause gas prices to be only $8.00 per gallon instead of $8.04. On the flip side, if we go doom and gloom and imagine things don’t go so well, we could be looking at a number of environmental issues including dying coral reefs, severe damage to local ecosystems, inedible fish, thus killing off the fishing industry, really ugly oil spills from hurricanes or negligence that could take years to clean up, and lastly, a crippled tourist industry. Both outcomes are equally likely, and the actual outcome would probably be somewhere in the middle. It's unlikely congress will legalize offshore drilling because it really isn't practical. But if they do it will be for political reasons, and not actually as any kind of solution to the energy problem.

'Bold text'''''Personally, most people do not have anything against offshore drilling. But, if the companies can't control spills maturely and efficiently, and the government can't pose proper regulations, then the oil spills harm the environment. People ARE against this. They will put a stop to offshore drilling if it is necessary, and it is being proven to be so.Bold text  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 4 June 2010 (UTC) 

Distance from Shoreline[edit]

Andyminicooper recently removed the words "near the shoreline" from the first sentence of this article. A quick diff shows that these words have been present since at least January.

Does offshore drilling refer to all drilling in bodies of water or does it generally refer to drilling near a shoreline?

If it refers to all bodies of water, should some mention be made of whether debaters are referring to all drilling or near-shore drilling?

--Dan Kuck (talk) 16:32, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

If a debater argues about the merits of drilling within a certain distance of the shore, that might be pertinent to the issue, but vague terms such as "near" (within 1 mile? within 100 miles?) should not be used in the article without quantifying them. Plazak (talk) 17:57, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
I see that an aspect of every debate is the distance that a debater considers the "minimum distance". Perhaps a Debate section like the one discussed above should be added outlining the major points brought up in debates and not touching on any specific debate. E.g. (a) distance (b) effect on tourism (c) etc. --Dan Kuck (talk) 19:22, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
We're talking about two different aspects here, the technical and the political. In the industry, offshore drilling is drilling that's not done on land. Being far away from land is not a big technical issue. The old oil field Ekofisk for instance, is in the ocean midway between Norway and Great Britain. The oil and gas fields that have been developed have been mainly in relatively shallow waters, but as technology progress, what's regarded as "deep" or "shallow" changes.
In the article US offshore drilling debate however, "near" take on specific meanings because distance defines borders for different US legislations. US state jurisdiction stops at 3.5 miles from the shore, where the federal government takes over, except for Texas and Florida which governs out to 10.5 miles. There may also be state and/or federal laws forbidding oil drilling at various distances. I think it would be best if information about the US debate is added to the drilling debate article. EverGreg (talk) 11:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I assume that the majority of readers here are looking for the debate. A blurb about it with a "link to the main article" would be helpful. --Dan Kuck (talk) 14:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree. I put a paragraph and link in the introduction. You may want to check if "US offshore drilling debate" itself is up to date. Contributions to it died down after the US presidential election. EverGreg (talk) 14:32, 8 October 2009 (UTC)


I'm moving a sidenote about Pyron, contributed by LeeEllen, into the discussion section. Here we can sort out if and how this material can be used. It was out of place in the history section, which tries to give a broad overview of things. EverGreg (talk) 11:31, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

SIDE NOTE: In the early l900s, 27-year-old Walter B. Pyron, of Blossom, Texas, a production foreman for Guffy Oil Company, noticed gas bubbles rising from Caddo Lake. He and other Guffy employees rowed across the lake, lighting strings of the bubbles. Confident that oil and gas lay beneath the lake, Pyron wrote to his superiors recommending that 8,000 acres of lake bottom be leased at an auction being held by the federal government at Mooringsport, Louisiana, near Ferry Lake, the Louisiana side of Caddo Lake. He told them he was sure his men were capable of drilling and completing a well in the lake, using crude tools and wood timbers. On the day of the auction, Pyron had no reply, but he went to Mooringsport for the auction. Fifteen minutes before the auction he still had no answer, but Pyron found a crank-style telephone and talked to his superiors at Gulf Oil Corporation--the successor of Guffy Petroleum Company--in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. They were dubious, but Pyron was persistent, and time was passing. A minute and a half before noon--the time set for the bidding--Pyron won Gulf's approval and raced to the auction site. He was just in time and bid the lake bottom for $30,000 down and $70,000 in royalty agreements. Seldom has an oil property been obtained for so little money at an auction sale. The problem of drilling over water had stumped other bidders, but not Pyron.

In early May, 1911, after months of hard work and battles with mosquitoes, alligators and moccasins, the Ferry Lake No. 1 was drilled to a depth of 2,185 and began producing 450 barrels of oil a day. The oil was piped to tank farms on the shore and then transferred to a system of gathering pipelines. In Pyron's days, offshore wells were called "over water" wells and a special platform had to be built on Ferry Lake. A crew felled cypress trees on the shore and drove the trunks into the lake for pilings for the platform. A slush pit was also made of wood. To support the drilling platform, the crew assembled a floating pile driver, three tugboats, ten barges and 36 small boats, bringing them to the lake by way of the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi River and the Red River. One storm scattered the equipment and crews so thoroughly that it took weeks to reassemble them. Altogether, it was two years from the day of the auction to the time drilling began on the lake.

Tempers flared so much on the project that one driller quit on the spot, dived into the lake and swam to shore, preferring the snakes and alligators to his tough crew boss. Watching his driller churn the water, the boss calmed down and went after the driller in a boat. When he reached the man, the boss spoke in a calmer voice, but said: "All right, now go into town, get some dry clothes, and hurry back. We've lost too damned much time."

While Pyron's achievement is recognized by a historical marker erected in 1994 at Mooringsport, it has never had the wider recognition it deserves. Some historians feel the first offshore wells were in California, but they were actually drilled on the shore and slanted into the Pacific Ocean. Pyron went on to become a vice-president of Gulf and was instrumental in the discovery and development of Kuwait's oil field. He also served as a Brigadier General during World War II. He died in 1951 and is buried at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. (by Bob Bowman on

The writer is mistaken in his assertion that earlier (pre-1911) offshore wells in California were slant-drilled from onshore. See the photo in Offshore oil and gas in California of some of the early offshore wells. Starting in 1896, wells at Summerland, California were drilled from wharves built out over the ocean. Plazak (talk) 02:27, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Dubious tag[edit]

So, it appears that the first "offshore" oil well may have been dug in Azerbaijan anywhere from 1798-1830. See: and

What's the real deal? Guy1890 (talk) 01:28, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Missing History[edit]

The history of offshore drilling is not complete without the mention of the people who invented the offshore supply boat, the first mobile drill rig in Louisiana, Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company (ODECO) and Murphy Oil of El Dorado, Arkansas. The leaders of these companies played important roles in creating the offshore oil industry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pingpaul (talkcontribs) 17:16, 13 June 2015 (UTC)


Congratulations on appearing on Wikipedia's main page as a "Did you know..." listing. I've been involved in the DYK process and so I know the time it takes and the coordination required between between editors...let's just say it isn't the easiest thing to accomplish. You deserve recognition, appreciation and applause. Thank you very much to all the contributing editors who made this listing possible.:The Very Best of Regards,
  Bfpage |leave a message  22:54, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

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Oil platform is the offshore rig while Drilling rig is the land based — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vorpzn (talkcontribs) 12:31, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Sorry, I can't see the point you're making. Your recent edits suggest you want to merge offshore drilling to oil platform.
In which case, oppose. Offshore drilling involves offshore oil platforms, but it's also much, much broader than that. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:45, 13 February 2018 (UTC)