005 - Ocean Energy Sources

Factual Question

How do humans exploit the oceans for energy?

What impact does the process of extracting energy have on our oceans?

Key Termiology

            • Detailed Example

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below:


Useful Links


Activity One - Describe

Before we can begin to look at what the impact is to our oceans due to the human demand for oil we need to have a basic understanding of what oil is, where it can be found and how the process of exploration, drilling and transportation occurs. Using the link in the 'Useful Resources' box answer the questions below in full sentences and on lined paper.


      1. What is oil?
      2. How is oil made?
      3. Why do we drill for oil in our oceans?
      4. Where can offshore oil extraction be found today?
      5. Describe how offshore exploration, offshore drilling and offshore production occurs.
      6. How does the transportation of the oil occur?

Activity Two - Detailed Example - Deepwater Horizon

There have been numerous examples throughout the decades of what happens when it all goes wrong. From ships that have run aground in Alaska in 1989 to the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig in 2010. Each had catastrophic impacts on the ecology of the area, the quality of the water and the economic feasibility of fishing in the surrounding areas. The deeper we are prepared to go in the oceans to extract the oil the greater the potential for disaster (even though our technology has improved). We are going to focus on the Deep Water Horizon BP oil spill of 2010 as it was one of the worst that has occurred within USAs history. To do this you are going to create a fact file to inform others of the potential dangers of the extraction of oil on our fragile oceans. A fact file is more data focused than long written descriptions. In fact, it is something you may need to use to revise from for the end of unit test!


      1. Collect a piece of A4 paper and a set of coloured pens.
      2. Create an eye catching fact file of the spill by including the following points:
                    • Location
                    • Date
                    • Who was involved?
                    • What happened?
                    • What was the impact of the damage?
                    • How was it brought under control?

Activity Three - Possibilities

We have now looked at the why and how we are extracting oil from our oceans along with an example of what happens when it goes seriously wrong. So what does our future hold for the extraction of oil from our oceans? We are going to focus on one of the most fragile and increasingly exposed areas of the world - The Artic. Climate change has shrunk the amount of ice in this region which has opened up the opportunity for deep sea drilling. The Arctic is estimated to have the richest reserve of oil we have left. To look at the pros and cons of oil extraction in this area - create a table.


      1. Create a table with two columns.
      2. Head up one column with 'Positives of oil extraction in the Arctic' and the other with 'Negatives of oil extraction in the Arctic'.
      3. Fill in your table using the information in the 'Useful Resources' box below.