The Effects of Oil Drilling and Pipelines

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Another sign of the troubling future of the planet was put on full display when an incident involving a drilling station in the Gulf of Mexico caused a huge underwater fire on July 2, 2021. The huge fire dubbed the “eye of fire” started around 11 a.m. CDT when there was a gas leak 500 feet from Mexican-owned Pemex’s drilling station.

The ocean burned for over five hours until the fire was able to be controlled, according to Pemex. The gas leak and resulting fire are not only daunting visually but catastrophic for the different organisms that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters. This is just one new example of pipelines and drilling destroying or critically damaging its surrounding area.   

drillingIn April of 2010, a similar incident happened in the very same waters of the Gulf of Mexico when an oil drilling rig ran by oil company BP exploded. The explosion of the rig would cause the death of 11 workers and injuring 17 more; the explosion was critical to the surrounding marine life when over four million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico over the next three months.

The 130 million gallons of oil that flowed into the ocean were catastrophic for marine life and other animals. According to the national geographic many species such as common loons, deep sea-coral reefs, and spotted sea trout have still not recovered from the oil spill.   

Oceans have not been the only area damaged by drilling for oil and resulting spills. Land oil spills, while not as hard to clean, are much more likely to occur. According to, the United States has nearly 8,000 pipeline accidents per year, causing an average of more than three million gallons of oil to be spilled every year.

With oil spills happening regularly in the United States, there have been over 7 billion dollars of damage caused; as well as the damage caused by the spills, more than 500 people lost their lives as of 2013, with 2,300 people being injured. 

Written by Jaylen Conwell
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


USA Today: ‘Humans caught the ocean on fire’: Gas pipeline fire in Gulf of Mexico creates shocking scene; by Joel Shannon
CNN: “Eye of Fire” that erupted in Gulf of Mexico is under control; by Philip Wang

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Mac McCreery’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of WildEarth Guardians’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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