Oil spills may be one of the worst environmental catastrophes of our time. The biggest impacted group as a result is the marine ecosystem and all its life forms. Since the advent of modern fossil fuel exploration from oceanic resources, oil spills have unfortunately become a regularly occurring accident. As we develop more sophisticated methods of oil exploration and extraction, it has become even more important to employ the most effective oil spill clean up methods in oilfield services.
One of the most abundant pollutants in the ocean is now oil. Annually, we see about 3 million metric tons of oil contamination around the world. Depending on the size and scope of the oil extraction operation, the severity of oil spills varies as well as the damage they cause the environment. Some of the factors that impact the spills damage are the oil type, the spill location, and the conditions of the weather in the area. The various physical, chemical and biological processes surrounding the spill normally govern its behavior and spread in the sea.
The nature of our planet’s open seas make oil spills a major concern not only in the area of the spill, but also the vast surrounding regions. Major degradation is inflicted on the ecosystem as shorelines and terrestrial wildlife miles away from the spill site must deal with collateral damage. Due to the density of water being more than that of oil, it floats on the water surface. This physical property of oil assists in the ease of clean up efforts in both freshwater and saltwater.
The socioeconomic impacts of oil spills can not be overstated. In many rural areas around the world, villagers depend primarily on the sustenance of the environment. Livelihoods such as fishing, and farming are directly impacted by oil spills in such areas. Leaving thousands unable to feed themselves or produce enough earnings to sustain their families. The financial toll can easily climb into the billions and the social impacts on communities cannot be quantified.