RICHARD FOLWELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD FOLWELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oil rig. Silhouette of an oil rig in the North Sea at sunset. This platform is used to drill for oil beneath the seabed. The twin towers housing the drills are seen rising from the centre of the rig. To the left of these towers is a crane, which is used to lift heavy objects between the platform's various layers. To the platform's right is the flare boom, which allows gas from the oil wells to be burned off at a safe distance from the rig. Oil is used to produce a huge variety of modern products, from plastics to fuels. It is, however, a finite resource, and alternatives will have to be found within the next century. This is the Claymore-A rig, owned by Occidental Consortium.
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