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Oil workers drown in North Sea

Oil workers drown in North Sea


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A floating apartment for oil workers in the North Sea collapses, killing 123 people, on March 30, 1980.

The Alexander Kielland platform housed 208 men who worked on the nearby Edda oil rig in the Ekofisk field, 235 miles east of Dundee, Scotland. Most of the Phillips Petroleum workers were from Norway, although a few were American and British. The platform, held up by two large pontoons, had bedrooms, kitchens and lounges and provided a place for workers to spend their time when not working. At about 6:30 p.m. on March 30, most of the residents were in the platform’s small theater watching a movie. Although there were gale conditions in the North Sea that evening, no one was expecting that a large wave would collapse and capsize the platform.

The capsizing happened very quickly, within 15 minutes of the collapse, so that many of the workers were unable to make it to the lifeboats. The Royal Air Force of Great Britain and Norwegian military both immediately sent rescue helicopters, but the poor weather made it impossible for them to help. Most of the 123 victims drowned. A subsequent investigation revealed that a previously undetected crack in one of main legs of the platform caused the structure’s collapse. The Alexander Kielland sat in the water for three years before it was salvaged.

Eight years later, a fire and explosion on the Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea killed 167 workers.


Piper Alpha disaster: how 167 oil rig workers died

The Piper Alpha disaster which killed 167 workers on 6 July 1988 off the coast of Aberdeen is the world'sdeadliest ever oil rig accident.

The controversy around it was heightened when a report into the disaster by Lord Cullen judged that the operator Occidental Petroleum had used inadequate maintenance and safety procedures. He made more than 100 recommendations about how safety should be improved in the North Sea.

Along with other oil companies, Occidental had massively scaled back spending as the price of oil had plunged from more than $30 per barrel to $8 in the 1980s compared to today's level of more than $100.

Piper Alpha was once Britain's biggest single oil and gas producing platform, bringing more than 300,000 barrels of crude a day – 10% of the country's total – from below the seabed 125 miles north-east of Aberdeen.

It was owned by a consortium of foreign companies including Texaco and operated by Los Angeles-based Occidental, which sold off its UK interests soon after the disaster to concentrate on the US and Middle East.

Oil was discovered at the Piper field in 1973 and was brought on stream three years later. By 1980 the steel platform was modified to also take gas and was connected by pipeline to the Orkney Islands.

The original modules on the structure were carefully located, with the staff quarters kept well away from the most dangerous production parts of the platform. But this safety feature was diluted when the gas compression units were installed next to the central control room. Further dangers arose when Occidental decided to keep the platform producing oil and gas as it set about a series of construction, maintenance and upgrade works.

A lack of communication at a shift change meant staff were not aware that they should not use a key piece of pipework which had been sealed with a temporary cover and no safety valve. Gas leaked out and ignited while firewalls that would have resisted fire on an oil platform failed to cope with the ensuing gas explosion.

When the platform blew 167 out of 228 workers either on the rig or one of the safety standby vessels patrolling it died. The platform was completely destroyed and it took almost three weeks for the fire to be brought under control by famed American wild well controller, Red Adair.

The accident cost the Lloyd's insurance marketmore than £1bn, making it the largest insured man-made catastrophe. Occidental paid out $100m (£66m) to families of the deceased but escaped any kind of criminal or civil sanction. No one was made personally liable in the courts either.


Contents

Cargo Edit

A primary function of a platform supply vessel is to transport supplies to the oil platform and return other cargoes to shore. Cargo tanks for drilling mud, pulverized cement, diesel fuel, potable and non-potable water, and chemicals used in the drilling process comprise the bulk of the cargo spaces. Fuel, water, and chemicals are almost always required by oil platforms. Certain other chemicals must be returned to shore for proper recycling or disposal, however, crude oil product from the rig is usually not a supply vessel cargo.

Support Edit

Common and specialty tools are carried on the large decks of these vessels. Most carry a combination of deck cargoes and bulk cargo in tanks below deck. Many ships are constructed (or re-fitted) to accomplish a particular job. Some of these vessels are equipped with a firefighting capability and fire monitors for fighting platform fires. Some vessels are equipped with oil containment and recovery equipment to assist in the cleanup of a spill at sea. Other vessels are equipped with tools, chemicals and personnel to "work-over" existing oil wells for the purpose of increasing the wells' production.

  • Platform supply vessels (PSV): High capacity supply ship, either in deck or cargo hold. [3]
  • Anchor handling tugs supply (AHTS): Similar to PSV, they can anchor and tow floating oil platforms (jack-ups and semi-submersible ones)
  • Multi purpose supply vessels (MPSV): Universal vessels able to provide a large variety of maintenance services. They are most of the time equipped with a high capacity crane (100 tons and more). "Jumpers", particular MPSV who are equipped with ROV (remote operated vehicles) to upkeep submarine equipment like wellheads. [4]
  • Fast Supply Intervention Vessels (FSIV): High-speed ships, (approximately 25 knots, 46 km/h, 29 mph) with a smaller deck capacity. They can nevertheless transport passengers. They essentially serve for urgent delivery or small shipment.
  • Crew Boats: Those vessels are meant to shuttle back and forth oil platform workers between the sea installation and land. They can be high-speed craft (NGV). Smaller vessels are used for cross-sites transports. The helicopter is also widely used, especially when the weather is tough like in North Sea.
  • Stand-by/Rescue vessels: Ships destined to security, they keep patrolling around the installation and must be ready to intervene in case of sea fall, evacuation or fire fighting. They are used mostly in northern seas.
  • Line Handling Vessels (LH): Vessels used for handling spies (mooring lines).
  • ROV Support Vessels (RSV): Support vessel specialized in ROV (Remote Operate Vehicle) operation.
  • Tug Supply Vessels (TS): Vessels used as a tug and in the supply of platforms.
  • Oil Spill Response Vessels (ORSV): Vessels dedicated to responding to offshore oil spills.
  • Diving Support Vessels (DSV): Vessels used as a floating base for professional diving services.

Crew on these ships can number up to 36 crew members, depending on the size, working area, and whether DP equipped or not. Crane vessels and drill ships often have 100 to 200 people on board including a dedicated project team.

Daily operations Edit

Crews sign on to work and live aboard the ship an extended period of time, this is followed by similar period of time off. Depending on the ship's owner or operator the time aboard varies from 1 to 3 months with 1 month off. Work details on platform supply vessels, like many ships, are organized into shifts of up to 12 hours.

Living aboard the ship, each crew member and worker will have at least a 12-hour shift, lasting some portion of a 24-hour day. Supply vessels are provided with a "bridge" area for navigating and operating the ship, machinery spaces, living quarters, and galley and mess room. Some have built-in work areas and common areas for entertainment. The large main deck area is sometimes utilized for portable housing.

Living quarters consist of cabins, lockers, offices, and spaces for storing personal items. Living areas are provided with wash basins, showers, and toilets.

The galley or cooking and eating areas aboard ship will be stocked with enough grocery items to last for the intended voyage but with the ability also to store provisions for months if required. A walk-in size cooler and freezer, a commercial stove and oven, deep sinks, storage and counter space will be available for the persons doing the cooking. The eating area will have coffee makers, toasters, microwave ovens, cafeteria-style seating, and other amenities needed to feed a hard-working crew.


Contents

David Anthony Eden, Sr., and David Anthony Eden, Jr., a father and son from England, had allegedly arranged to pay a group of Chinese workers £5 per 25 kg (9p per lb) of cockles. [3] [4] The Chinese had been trafficked via containers into Liverpool, and were hired out through local criminal agents of international Chinese Triads. The cockles to be collected are best found at low tide on sand flats at Warton Sands, near Hest Bank. The Chinese workers were unfamiliar with local geography, language, and custom. They were cut off by the incoming tide in the bay around 9:30.

The emergency services were alerted by a mobile phone call made by one of the workers, who spoke little English and was only able to say "sinking water" before the call was cut off. [5] [6] Twenty-one bodies, of men and women between the ages of 18 and 45, were recovered from the bay after the incident. Two of the victims were women the vast majority were young men in their 20s and 30s, with only two being over 40 and only one, a male, under 20. [7] Most of the victims were previously employed as farmers, and two were fishermen. [7] All the bodies were found between the cockling area and shore, indicating that most had attempted to swim but had been overcome by hypothermia. [8] Four of the victims died after the truck they used to reach the cockling area became overwhelmed by water. [9] A further two cocklers were believed to have been with those drowned, with remains of one being found in 2010. [10] [1]

At the subsequent hearing, British cocklers returning to shore on the same evening were reported to have attempted to warn the Chinese group by tapping their watches and trying to speak with them. [9] A survivor testified that the leader of the group had made a mistake about the time of the tides. [3] Fourteen other members of the group are reported to have made it safely to the shore, making 15 survivors in total. The workers were all illegal immigrants, mainly from the Fujian province of China, and have been described as being untrained and inexperienced. [11]

David Anthony Eden, Sr., and David Anthony Eden, Jr., from Prenton, Merseyside, who bought cockles from the work gang, were cleared of helping the workers break immigration law. [12]

Gangmaster Lin Liang Ren was found guilty of the manslaughter of at least 21 people (two further cocklers were thought to have been killed, but their bodies were never found). [13] Ren, his girlfriend Zhao Xiao Qing and his cousin Lin Mu Yong were also convicted of breaking immigration laws. Ren was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter, 6 years for facilitating illegal immigration (to be served concurrently with the manslaughter sentence), and 2 years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (to be served subsequent to the manslaughter sentence). [14] Lin Mu Yong was sentenced to four years and nine months. Zhao Xiao Qing was sentenced to 2 years and 9 months for facilitation of illegal immigration and perverting the course of justice. [14]

The 2006 film Ghosts, directed by Nick Broomfield, is a dramatisation of the events leading up to the disaster. [15] [16]

A 2006 documentary Death in the Bay: the Cocklepickers' Story, was commissioned by Channel 4 as part of The Other Side from local filmmaker Loren Slater, who was one of the first people on the scene. [17]

In 2009, Ed Pien's work Memento, commissioned by the Chinese Arts Centre, was developed in response to the plight of illegal immigrants, especially those who died at Morecambe Bay. [18] [19]

In 2013, artist Isaac Julien released his film Ten Thousand Waves about the disaster. [20]

The 2007 folk song "On Morecambe Bay" by folk artist Kevin Littlewood tells the story of the events. [21] This song was later covered by folk musician Christy Moore. [22]


Contents

The outcome of the February 1974 General Election saw the Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, win the most seats. Prime Minister Edward Heath, leader of the Conservative Party, lost support from the Ulster Unionist Party and, although he entered coalition negotiations with Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, these broke down. The Labour Party then formed the new government, with a plurality of seats but without a majority. In October 1974, Wilson went back to the country to ask for a renewed mandate.

During this time, in Scotland support for the Scottish National Party had been increasing after the victory of the SNP candidate Winnie Ewing at the 1967 Hamilton by-election. The political instability surrounding the general elections of 1974 represented a time of intense political campaigning in the UK, which further brought the SNP to prominence. It was during this time that the slogan "It's Scotland's Oil" came to the fore with the February election seeing 7 SNP candidates returned, rising to 11 in October. Some well known MPs such as Tam Dalyell believe this was in no small part due to the "It's Scotland's oil" slogan employed by the Scottish National Party. [2]

The economic background to the claim was the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1960s, and its coming on line in the 1970s. [3] The majority of the largest oil fields in the UK sector of the North Sea were found in the waters to the north and east of the Scottish mainland, with the more northerly fields found to the east of the Orkney and Shetland islands. [4] Aberdeen became the centre of Britain's North Sea oil industry, with many oil terminals such as that of Sullom Voe in Shetland and Flotta in Orkney and at Cruden Bay and St Fergus on the north east coast of Scotland, being built to support the North Sea oil industry. In the early 1970s, there was a great deal of economic turbulence with the 1973 oil price shock caused by the Yom Kippur War, resulting in rising inflation coupled with high unemployment, recession (also known as stagflation) in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. [5] Thus the economic argument that formed the basis of the slogan was that while Scotland was part of the United Kingdom, it lacked control over royalties and revenue from the majority of the oil which lay in the Scottish sector of the North Sea.

Given that Scotland is not a sovereign state, it has no effective maritime boundaries and any claims Scotland may assert are subsumed as part of claims made by the United Kingdom. However, due to the existence of two separate legal systems in Great Britain — that of Scots law pertaining to Scotland and English law pertaining to England and Wales — constitutional law in the United Kingdom has provided for the division of the UK sector of the North Sea into specific Scottish and English components. [6] The Continental Shelf Act 1964 and the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968 defined the UK North Sea maritime area to the north of latitude 55 degrees north as being under the jurisdiction of Scots law [7] meaning that 90% of the UK's oil resources was considered under Scottish jurisdiction. [8] [9] In addition, section 126 of the Scotland Act 1998 defined Scottish waters as the internal waters and territorial sea of the United Kingdom as are adjacent to Scotland. [10] This was subsequently amended by the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundary Order 1999 which redefined the extent of Scottish waters and Scottish fishery limits. [11] [12]

Recent evidence by Kemp and Stephen (1999) has tried to estimate hypothetical Scottish shares of North Sea Oil revenue by dividing the UK sector of the North Sea into separate Scottish and English sectors using the international principle of equidistance as utilised under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) - such a convention is used in defining the maritime assets of newly formed states and resolving international maritime disputes. The study by Kemp & Stephen showed that hypothesised Scottish shares of North Sea oil revenue over the period 1970 to 1999 varied, dependent upon the price of oil and offset against taxable profits and the costs of exploration and development. [13]

Nevertheless, a Scottish share of North Sea oil is never formally alluded to as part of Scotland's net fiscal position and is treated by HM Treasury as extra-regio resources. [14] The BBC economist Evan Davis however reported prior to the 2007 Scottish Parliament election that the Barnett formula already allows Scotland to sustain higher levels of per capita public spending relative to the rest of the UK, which is approximately equivalent to its disproportionately high annual contribution of tax revenues to the central UK Treasury from Oil production. [15] However Scotland's per capita spending growth, relative to the rest of the UK, has in recent years, been nominally reduced by the operation of the Barnett formula, in order to bring public spending levels into line with the UK average, in a phenomenon that had been dubbed the "Barnett Squeeze". [16]

There have been moves to recast the constitutional status of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles partly in order to get a greater share of the oil revenues to these islands, in whose maritime territory it is argued that most of the oil is found.

Jim Sillars, former Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party, said during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum that “BP, in an independent Scotland, will need to learn the meaning of nationalisation, in part or in whole, as it has in other countries who have not been as soft as we have forced to be. We will be the masters of the oil fields, not BP or any other of the majors.” [17] [18]


Oil workers drown in North Sea - HISTORY

Assessing the toxicity of oil is a tricky business. The main difficulty is that "oil" is a mixture of many different chemicals, and no two oils are the same. Proportions of chemicals vary even within a single category of oil, like crude oil or diesel oil.

For example, Arabian crude oil, Louisiana crude oil, and Alaska North Slope crude oil represent very different mixtures that will behave differently in the environment and have different toxic effects to exposed organisms.

It was Alaska North Slope crude oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez into Prince William Sound. Alaska North Slope crude oil contains many chemicals that can kill a plant or animal outright, or cause injury to the extent that it has less chance of surviving in the wild. For example:

  • Oil, in high enough concentrations, can poison animals by internal and external routes of exposure.
  • Birds and mammals often die because oil fouls fur and feathers so that they no longer insulate.
  • Smaller organisms can be smothered by a thick layer of oil washing ashore.
  • Recent research studies by NOAA scientists have shown that even small amounts of petroleum hydrocarbons can impair the successful development of fish eggs and embryos.

The oil from the Exxon Valdez killed or injured in all of these ways. We also now know that our attempts to clean up an oil spill can indirectly harm some of the resources we are trying to protect.

For example, using hot water or chemicals to remove oil can harm plants and animals, and simply sending a team of cleanup workers into an oiled area can trample sensitive organisms and mix oil more deeply into a beach. The experts who respond to oil spills must consider all of these potential problems when evaluating the trade-offs of how far to go in removing spilled oil.

The Exxon Valdez was, to that point, the most studied oil spill in history. However, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill will become the new standard for impact and assessment studies and will substantially increase our knowledge about oil spill impacts.

Related

The Toxicity of Oil: What's the Big Deal? Explore why oil is toxic and how different recipes for oil can have various toxic effects on living things.

What Is Weathering? Learn about happens to oil when it interacts with the physical environment and what we can learn about this behavior from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Oil Types: Find out more about different kinds of oils and how they can behave differently when spilled in the ocean.


RELATED ARTICLES

Dr Bates, a geophysicist, said: ‘Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the UK coastline of today.

World beneath the waves: Scientists examine a sediment core recovered from a mound near Orkney

Seismic scans reveal a submerged river at Dogger Bank

A visualisation of how life in the now-submerged areas of Dogger Bank might have looked

The research suggests that the populations of these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands

Life in 'Doggerland' - the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the 'real heart of Europe'

‘We have speculated for years on the lost land's existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but it's only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.

‘When the data was first being processed, I thought it unlikely to give us any useful information, however as more area was covered it revealed a vast and complex landscape.

‘We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.’

The research project is a collaboration between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Wales Trinity St David.

Rediscovering the land through pioneering scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that featured massive climate change. The public exhibit brings back to life the Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within the sea bed.

The research, a result of a painstaking 15 years of fieldwork around the murky waters of the UK, is one of the highlights of the London event.

The interactive display examines the lost landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by the exhibit - from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that also inhabited these lands.

Using a combination of geophysical modelling of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material recovered from the seafloor, the research team was able to build up a reconstruction of the lost land.

The excavation of Trench 2, unveiling more finds about this lost land-mass

Fossilised bones from a mammoth also show how this landscape was once one of hills and valleys, rather than sea

The findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a convoluted coastline.

As the sea rose the hills would have become an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record - such as pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna - the researchers can tell what kind of vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there.

Using this information, they were able to build up a model of the 'carrying capacity' of the land and work out roughly how many humans could have lived there.

The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.

Dr Bates added: ‘We haven't found an 'x marks the spot' or 'Joe created this', but we have found many artefacts and submerged features that are very difficult to explain by natural causes, such as mounds surrounded by ditches and fossilised tree stumps on the seafloor.

‘There is actually very little evidence left because much of it has eroded underwater it's like trying to find just part of a needle within a haystack. What we have found though is a remarkable amount of evidence and we are now able to pinpoint the best places to find preserved signs of life.’

For further information on the exhibit, visit: http://sse.royalsociety.org/2012/exhibits/drowned-landscapes/

Drowned Landscapes is on display at The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2012 from July 3-8 at the Royal Society in London.


Share All sharing options for: More than 50 migrants drowned off coast of Tunisia 33 saved

This photo provided by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Tunisia shows migrants disembarking in Tunisia, late Monday, May 17, 2021. Tunisian authorities say more than 50 migrants have drowned off the coast of the North African country, while 33 others were rescued by workers from an oil platform. AP

TUNIS, Tunisia — More than 50 migrants have drowned or disappeared off the coast of Tunisia, while 33 others were rescued by workers from an oil platform, the Tunisian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Ministry spokesperson Mohamed Zekri said that the boat carrying migrants capsized Monday off Sfax, on Tunisia’s southeast coast. He said that personal on the oil platform who saw the boat going under alerted authorities, and navy units were sent in to search the water for missing passengers.

Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson for the Mediterranean coordination office of the International Organization for Migration, said on Twitter that the 33 survivors were all from Bangladesh. The boat departed from Zawara, Libya, on Sunday, he said.

The nationalities of the people who died were not immediately clear.

An International Organization for Migration spokesperson in Tunisia, Riadh Kadhi, said the survivors reported that the boat carried about 90 passengers when it left Libya.

Libya is a frequent departure point for Europe-bound migrants making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing.

Monday’s incident was at least the fifth deadly boat sinking in the last couple of months off Tunisia involving migrants escaping conflict or poor living conditions. Earlier this month, 17 migrants drowned and two were rescued after their boat sank off the Tunisian coast.

Tunisia’s official TAP news agency reported that navy units rescued another 113 migrants from Bangladesh, Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa on Monday afternoon as their boat was about to sink off Djerba, an island off the Tunisian coast.


Mumbai High North disaster, Indian Ocean

The Mumbai High North disaster on 27 July 2005 in the Arabian Sea, around 160km west of the Mumbai coast, killed 22 people. Mumbai High North, one of the producing platforms of the Mumbai High field owned and operated by India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), caught fire after a collision with the multipurpose support vessel (MSV) Samudra Suraksha.

Strong swells pushed the MSV towards the platform, hitting the rear part of the vessel and causing rupture of one or more of the platform’s gas export risers.

The resultant gas leakage led to ignition that set the platform on fire. Heat radiation also caused damage to the MSV and the Noble Charlie Yester jack-up rig engaged in drilling operation near the platform.

The accident caused significant oil spill and a production loss of 120,000 barrels of oil and 4.4 million cubic metres of gas a day. ONGC opened a new platform at Mumbai High North in October 2012.


Doggerland - The Europe That Was

A map showing Doggerland, a region of northwest Europe home to Mesolithic people before sea level rose to inundate this area and create the Europe we are familiar with today.

Geology, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography

Things aren’t always what they seem on the surface. Looking at the area between mainland Europe and the eastern coast of Great Britain, you probably wouldn’t guess it had been anything other than a great expanse of ocean water. But roughly 12,000 years ago, as the last major ice age was reaching its end, the area was very different. Instead of the North Sea, the area was a series of gently sloping hills, marshland, heavily wooded valleys, and swampy lagoons: Doggerland.

Mesolithic people populated Doggerland. Archaeologists and anthropologists say the Doggerlanders were hunter-gatherers who migrated with the seasons, fishing, hunting, and gathering food such as hazelnuts and berries.

Over time, the Doggerlanders were slowly flooded out of their seasonal hunting grounds. Water previously locked away in glaciers and ice sheets began to melt, drowning Doggerland. Around 6,000 years ago, the Mesolithic people were forced onto higher ground in what is today England and the Netherlands.

Evidence of Doggerlanders’ nomadic presence can be found embedded in the seafloor, where modern fishermen often find ancient bones and tools that date to about 9,000 years ago. These artifacts brought Doggerland’s submerged history to the attention of British and Dutch archaeologists and paleontologists.

Using sophisticated seismic survey data acquired mainly by oil companies drilling in the North Sea, the scientists have been able to reconstruct a digital model of nearly 46,620 square kilometers (18,000 square miles) of what Doggerland looked like before it was flooded.

Those studying the Doggerland area are finding that the climate change faced by Mesolithic people is analogous to our own. Mesolithic peoples were forced out of Doggerland by rising water that engulfed their low-lying settlements. Climate scientists say that a similar situation could affect the billions of people who live within 60 kilometers (37 miles) of a shoreline today, if polar ice caps continue to melt at an accelerated pace.

The story of the Mesolithic people and their home of Doggerland are cautionary tales for the consequences of a rapidly rising sea level. Glacial melt forced the Mesolithic people out of their homes and now Doggerland, like the fabled Atlantis, is just a sunken and mostly forgotten Stone Age culture, its only evidence being decayed artifacts and fossils of its people.

Using the map scale bar, what is the approximate distance you would have to travel to get from England to France over water today?

Using the scale bar, the approximate distance between England and France over water according to this map is 32 kilometers (20 miles). Answers may vary within a range of 24 kilometers (15 miles). The actual distance is 34 kilometers (21 miles).

According to the map key, areas shaded in dark green were not covered by the sea in 7000 BC. How many years ago is that?

7000 BC is 9,012 years ago in 2012 or 9,013 years ago in 2013.

How can we know what the landscape of Doggerland looked like thousands of years ago when it is covered by ocean today?

Scientists reconstruct the landscape using data collected by seismic surveyors working for oil companies in the North Sea.

There is a river flowing near the site labeled Goldcliff on the map. What is the present-day name for the large body of water this river would have flown into 16,000 years ago?

The river flowing from the Goldcliff site would have flown into the Atlantic Ocean.

Ancient Doggerland included parts of the coastline of what modern-day nations labeled on this map?

Ancient Doggerland included the parts of the coastline of modern-day France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

  • When Doggerland was being flooded, sea level rise was as much as 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) a century.
  • The seafloor of the North Sea preserved many artifacts of Mesolithic people, including perfect sets of footprints left by the nomadic tribes, some containing up to 39 perfectly preserved prints.
  • Those studying Doggerland say many of the sites where they have found artifacts were located on steep ancient river banks, which the Dutch call De Stekels (the Spines).

person who studies artifacts and lifestyles of ancient cultures.

material remains of a culture, such as tools, clothing, or food.

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

(16,000-6500 BCE) landmass connecting Great Britain to mainland Europe, drowned by the southern North Sea following the last ice age.

person who gets food by using a combination of hunting, fishing, and foraging.

long period of cold climate where glaciers cover large parts of the Earth. The last ice age peaked about 20,000 years ago. Also called glacial age.

(12,000-3000 BCE) Stone Age time period between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. Also called the Middle Stone Age and Epipaleolithic.

image or impression of an object used to represent the object or system.

having to do with a way of life lacking permanent settlement.

base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.

having to do with earthquakes.

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Editors

Caryl-Sue Micalizio, National Geographic Society
Sean P. O'Connor

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North Sea oil and gas in 'paper-thin' position as prices plunge

The North Sea oil and gas industry is in a “paper-thin” position as global oil markets plummet towards 18-year lows amid the UK’s economic emergency, according to a report.

An industry trade body said investment in the ageing oil basin, which supports about 250,000 jobs in the UK, was expected to slump by almost a third because of the market collapse.

Large oil companies are expected to axe their spending plans to weather the latest market rout, which threatens to halve the revenue from the barrels of oil they produce.

This could cause oil-drilling activity to fall to levels last seen during the 2016 oil market crash, and slash earnings for the engineering companies that provide oilfield services to big producers.

Global oil markets have recorded their most dramatic price collapse in a generation as oil states continue to produce more than the world can use despite the economic slowdown triggered by the coronavirus.

The pandemic may have already slowed work on offshore rigs after the industry trade body, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), called for a ban on rig workers travelling to offshore oil platforms if they have returned from “hotspot” countries affected by the virus in the previous 14 days to help safeguard staff.

Deirdre Michie, the chief executive of OGUK, said the latest oil price collapse, “coming so soon after one of the worst downturns in our history”, has left the UK’s oil industry “in a paper-thin position”.

The price slump follows a steady decline in global gas prices which have halved over the last twelve months due to higher US shale activity, dealing a double blow to the North Sea’s oil and gas producers.

Michie said urgent action was needed to safeguard the North Sea’s ability to help meet the UK’s energy needs, and invest in low-carbon technologies to help create a carbon neutral economy in the future.

“We’re already working with our members to understand the challenges businesses are facing in these unique and extremely worrying times,” she said.

The OGUK report says the financial contagion triggered by historically low oil prices will threaten North Sea jobs, shrink its economic contribution and undermine energy security.

Ross Dornan, the author of the report, said: “The first week of March saw the most dramatic fall in oil price in almost 30 years and it remains uncertain as to how the market is going to evolve in the coming months as the coronavirus impact increases each day.”

“Alongside this, the gas price has more than halved in the last 12 months, and we face a situation where production revenues are set to be almost 50 percent lower than they were two years ago despite the same level of output.”

The oil and gas market collapse has wiped billions from the value of UK companies, and could threaten the long-term survival of weaker firms .

Premier Oil and Enquest, which have heavy debts and a large proportion of their activities in the North Sea, have lost about three-quarters of their market value since January. Many of the biggest North Sea oil producers – including Chrysaor, Siccar Point and Neptune Energy – are not listed on the London Stock Exchange.

North Sea oil producers were able to adapt to the previous downturn by cutting costs and improving efficiency to survive at market prices well below $100 a barrel, but smaller oilfield service companies have struggled to follow suit.

Dornan said the North Sea supply chain had not yet seen much recovery from the previous downturn and warned that it did not have the capacity “to absorb much more pain”.


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