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Drill, Spill, Repeat? Breaking Offshore Oil Drilling's Destructive Cycle

Dangers of Oil Drilling

The Adriatic sea is a small enclosed sea, more like a large bay. While there are some platforms in the north and on the Italian side, the unique currents have kept the Croatian coastline relatively free from pollutants. However, new initiatives into drilling are not only happening in Croatia, but also include in Montenegro, Italy, Albania and other countries in the region. More drilling means more pollution and poses an even greater risk to the marine life, surrounding environments and human health.

Pollution

Oil rig flaring

Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold, releasing emissions into the atmosphere. Pollutants released are those associated with fuel combustion, including, carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter, fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.

Cutting piles, small pieces of rocks from the drilling process, are carried to the surface combined with the chemicals used for extraction and lubrication. The cuttings are discharged to the seabed, re-injected into a well or taken ashore for treatment and disposal.

Blowout

Oil well blowout

Blowouts are more frequent during the initial phases of well construction, when preventative measures are not in place.

Blowouts occur as consequence of equipment failure, personnel mistakes or extreme natural impact.

Transportation accidents

Tanker spill

Most harmful accidents due to the nature of the materials being transported and the effects on the environment.

Frequently occurring in proximity to the coast. The spillage might be slow or fast, sometimes lasting for months

Explosion

Deepwater Horizon on fire

The most dangerous type of accident can also be linked to a blowout or leakage.

It's impossible to determine the volume of leakage and may continue until the well is depleted.

Economy

Zlatni rat on Brac

Tourism is a 9 billion euro annual industry, making up more than 20% of Croatia's GPD. Visitors come for the pristine water quality that accounts for some of the world's most unique ecological tourism. A single spill would devastating.

Croatia will only see approximately 10% of the profits of exploitation, and most jobs and equipment needs will be filled by other EU nations who have an experienced workforce and abundant equipment as the industry continues to experience a downtown and North Sea production slows.

Ecosystem

Bottlenose dolphin, a protected speicies

There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity.

There are more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic, rare and threatened ones.

Geography

Oil well blowout

Semi-closed configuration traps and concentrates the pollutants, while the currents push them up towards the north.

Calm atmosphere, calm waters are a detriment to the dispersal of the leaking contaminate and the chemicals used to 'clean' them when oil spills happen.

Seismic activityAn unbroken zone of increased seismic activity borders the Adriatic Sea. An active 200-kilometre (120 miles) fault has been identified to the northwest of Dubrovnik, adding to the Dalmatian islands as the Eurasian Plate slides over the Adriatic microplate.

Accident Response

Oil spill cleanup

The damage from spills are magnified by the lack a speedy response.

Frequently occurring in proximity to the coast. The spillage might be slow or fast, sometimes lasting for months

Croatia has a dated response plan (2008), no monitoring, no cleanup equipment, no risk assessments and no environmental impact statements.

Petitions

Petitions against oil drilling in the Adriatic Sea

Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance

Petition to the Croatian Economic Minister and EU in English and Croatian language.

Sign Now

Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine e.V. (GRD)

Hands Off! No oil platforms in the Adriatic. German language petition.

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Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance

Save the wildlife of the Adriatic Sea

Sign Now