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.
- Offshore Drilling in Bristol Bay and the Southeast Bering Sea
- How Oil Drilling Works
- Offshore Oil Drilling Explained
- Can Offshore Drilling Really Make the U.S. Oil Independent?
- Weighing the Benefits & Risks of Offshore Drilling
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).
- Cement Mixture Used for BP Well Never Had Final Test
- Rig Disaster—move your cursor to any yellow block on the bottom timeline and an image, short text, and reference to a longer story will pop up
- Gusher in the Gulf
- The Final Moments
- Oil Spill Panel Tells a Complicated Tale
- Deep Water Oil Rush
- National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
- The Case for Improvement
- Industry Reacts to Deepwater Horizon Probe
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:
- Life Under the Sea
- Census Uncovers Oceans’ Deep Secrets/Survey Names More than 1,000 New Species
- Protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay from Offshore Oil Drilling
- Benefits of Drilling for American Oil
- Offshore Oil Drilling Might Make Environmental Sense
- Report Confirms Drilling Standards Still Lacking
- Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean
This esheet is a part of the Deep Oil: The Technology, Risks, and Benefits of Offshore Oil Drilling lesson.