Deep Oil

Deep Oil


This lesson focuses on examining the role of technology in managing societal risks and benefits of obtaining a highly valued—and politically charged—asset: oil deposits buried deep below the ocean floor. To examine this issue, you will research the risks and benefits of offshore oil drilling and the worst oil drilling platform accident in history, the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast in which 11 lives were lost.


One of the goals is to prepare and gather background knowledge for a “press conference” to be held at the end of this lesson when you role-play as the Chief Technology Officer of BP. Before you can have your press conference, you need to learn more about the risks and benefits of offshore oil drilling. Do this by consulting online resources to gather knowledge, analyze it, and frame it into responses and explanations for the “bloggers” at the press conference. Remember: A modern technological system includes among its parts human decisions and performance—not just machine parts and microprocessors. You can use these resources to get the information you need to answer the questions on the Deep Oil student sheet.

Once you have a better understanding of the risks and benefits of offshore oil drilling, you should now prepare a group report on the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You can use these resources to help you prepare this report (record your findings on the Group Report student sheet).

Mistakes Made

Human Cost


To help you prepare for the debate on whether or not offshore oil drilling is worth the risk, you should go to: Debate: US Offshore Oil Drilling.

Then, depending on what side you have in the debate, visit one of these resources for information:

This esheet is a part of the Deep Oil: The Technology, Risks, and Benefits of Offshore Oil Drilling lesson.

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