The Tall, The Deep, The Long/To the Bottom of the Sea; Extreme Engineering; Scientific American Presents; by Roesset; 5 Page(s)
Oil reserves on land and on the continental shelf have become scarcer and more difficult to extract. Meanwhile the worldwide demand for gas and petroleum continues to grow almost linearly. It is not surprising that oil exploration and production have moved into deeper and deeper waters.
In just 50 years the offshore industry has built increasingly impressive platforms to extend oil production from just 20 feet of water to more than 3,000 feet (915 meters). Indeed, the excitement and challenge of structural engineering-once associated with tall buildings, large dams and long-span bridges-are currently in the offshore area. And for depths exceeding a mile, the industry is looking at new solutions, including subsea systems built directly on the ocean floor. With continued innovation, the extraction of oil from water depths of almost two miles will become a reality.