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Oil Production Causing Decrease in Natural Oil and Gas Seeps

Oil and gas companies are highly criticized when they have oil spills. But did you know Mother Nature has caused more oil spills than all gas companies combined? In 38 years the earth has naturally released a shocking 2 million barrels of oil into the water.
And how does Mother Nature miraculously do this? Through oil and gas seeps.
These natural oil and gas springs come from cracks in the earth’s crust. They are similar to water springs, but instead of water, the springs produce oil and gas.
According to SOS California, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of natural gas and oil seep pollution in California, offshore Santa Barbara has the second largest marine oil seeps in the world. However, the number of natural seeps is now reducing off the Coal Oil Point coast due to oil production from platform Holly, an operation by Venoco. The oil and gas from the seep is used for shipping to refineries in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.

The advantages of oil production from oil and gas seeps
No more innocent than a man-made oil spill, the oil and gas that is released from these natural seeps is toxic to the environment. As the oil rises to the surface and floats, it coagulates and biodegrades into tar washing up onto the beaches of Santa Barbara.
It has been a huge detriment to local wildlife; more birds have been killed in the past 40 years due to natural oil seepage compared to man-made oil spills. In fact the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network save about 4,000 animals a year that have been affected by oil in the water.
The natural gas and oil seeps beneath the Santa Barbara Channel also affect the air quality. They cause gas to escape from the ocean floor and rise to the surface as bubbles releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. According to SOS California this is thought to be adding to climate change and global warming.
Since Platform Holly started in 1967, it has created over 75 million barrels of oil and 78 billion cubic feet of gas to date. This production has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the oil and gas bearing reservoir pressure, the main cause of seep activity.
Changing views about oil production
Many people and environmentalists look at oil production negatively due to oil spills, such as the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill – the third worst oil spill in the US. However, the effects of man-made oil spills are insignificant compared to natural oil spills. The amount of natural oil and gas seepage in four days is equivalent to the amount of oil that was spilt from man-made disasters off the shore of California in 40 years.
Operations such as Platform Holly are helping the environment. They are also providing billions of dollars of needed revenue for California helping to reduce the reliance of imports of gas and oil from foreign companies.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.