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How can we get fossil fuel from under the sea bed?
Question Date: 2007-06-02
Answer 1:

Fossil fuels that are located beneath the ocean must be removed from under the sea bed basically in the same way that they are removed from underground on land: through drilling and mining. However, this is harder to do in the ocean because of all the water that gets in the way!

In order to mine coal from beneath the sea bed, two main methods can be used. In areas where the water is not very deep, the workers can dig an underground mine just like they do on land-- they can even dig the opening to the mind on the shore, then dig out under the ocean like theyre making a tunnel. They can work inside this mine just as they would if the mine were located on land, with the only difference being that there is a lot of water (instead of just land) above their tunnel! Another method is to use special underwater equipment that digs out the coal. This equipment can be controlled from a boat.

To get oil and natural gas from under the ocean it is necessary to dig a well, just like on land. However, because the well is being dug underwater, there are two problems. First, the workers are not able to go down to where the well is being dug. Instead they must work on an oil platform sitting on the surface (just like the ones you see in the ocean around Santa Barbara) and send a drill deep down underwater. Second, when they drill a hole for the oil, the water could go into the hole or the oil could leak into the water. To make sure this doesnt happen the workers must use special techniques that keep the oil and water from mixing.

Answer 2:

Fossil fuels like oil and coal are made when dead plants and animals are under high heat and pressure for millions of years.The kind of heat and pressure it takes are deep underground.

Sometimes fossil fuels come to the surface on their own, but most of the time we have to drill or dig into the ground to get them. People can drill into the sand and rock that makes up the bottom of the sea in order to get oil and natural gas.

Drilling under the sea bed is harder to do because the drilling rigs have to be on platforms that either float in the water or stand on the ocean floor. These platforms are huge and expensive. A drilling rig can cost $500 million. It can be dangerous for the people on the rig and to the living things around the rigs.

The gas and oil may be under enough pressure that they will come to the surface on their own. If not, the drillers can force sea water down the hole. Water and gas are lighter than water, so the will come to the top.

You can see photos of oil rigs at this site:

What do you think it would be like to live on an oil rig in the ocean?What things would have to be there in order to keep you safe and comfortable? What dangers can you think of?

Thanks for asking,

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