The platform that you can see east of Dauphin Island is operated by one of many oil and gas companies operating in Alabama waters. These platforms are extracting natural gas (methane), a relatively clean-burning petroleum product. The platform itself lies in 11 feet of water, with drilling operations to depths of over 20,000 feet. Once natural gas is found and brought to the surface, it is transferred via underwater pipelines to processing plants on the mainland.Extract
Observe the porous quality of this sandstone, formed millions of years ago. Ten percent of the sandstone's volume is natural gas, compressed within these pores to a pressure between 10.000 and 20.000 pounds per square inch.
The natural gas field found within Mobile Bay and Alabama Gulf waters is the largest field discovered in the continental United States. Approximately 50 rigs mine this field. Along with such a large petroleum reservoir comes the potential for impacts, both positive and negative.
Environmental: Concerned citizens, scientists, and state regulators worked with the oil companies to implement an environmentally safe, clean operation, with a zero discharge policy. This policy prohibits the discharge of drilling fluids petroleum products, and treated sewage
from the platform into state waters. Instead, these materials are offloaded and taken to the mainland for proper disposal.
Economic: The gas field within Alabama waters supports a great many jobs, from rig workers to refiners to distributers, and even helicopter pilots. It also brings in millions of dollars per year in tax revenue.