Offshore Drilling in the United States

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Offshore drilling in the United States
2012
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2012/7/28

Background
In U.S., offshore drilling is a controversial topic due to its two-side effect, it had been banned since 1980s, but in 2010, the president Obama decided to Lifted restrictions and opened vast expanses of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling to reduce gas prices in U.S., whether it is necessary to allow the offshore drilling has become a troublesome problem. This paper will discuss the advantage and disadvantage of the offshore drilling. Offshore drilling refers to a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled through the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently produce hydrocarbons which lie in rock formations beneath the seabed. Most commonly, the term is used to describe drilling activities on the continental shelf, though the term can also be applied to drilling in lakes, inshore waters and inland seas. Offshore drilling is much related to energy independence, which is an important goal for the United States. The purpose of energy independence is to reduce the U.S imports of oil and other foreign sources of energy. Energy independence is espoused by those who want to leave America unaffected by global energy supply disruptions, and to restrict a reliance upon politically unstable states for its energy purposes. Energy independence is highly concerned with oil, being perhaps the most important imported energy sources for purposes of both transportation and electricity. The United States is the world's third largest producer of oil, but it also relies on imported oil. More oil is imported from Canada than any other country. 19% of imported oil comes from the Middle East. Such resources are finite and decreasing, despite an increase in demand. World-wide demand for oil is projected to grow 60% over the next two decades. The U.S. currently produces about 40% of the oil that it consumes; its oil production peaked in 1970 and its imports have exceeded domestic production since the early 1990s. Since the U.S.'s oil consumption continues to rise, and its oil production continues to fall, this ratio may continue to decline. Greater energy self-sufficiency, it is claimed, would prevent major supply disruptions like the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis from recurring. Proponents argue that the potential for political unrest in major oil suppliers, such as Saudi Arabia (15% of domestic consumption), Venezuela (13%), and Nigeria (10%), is abundant, and often cause great fluctuations in crude oil prices (especially in the short-term), despite the risk-potential being factored into market prices. In the United States, oil is primarily consumed as fuel for cars, buses, trucks and airplanes (in the form of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel). Two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption is due to the transportation sector. If total energy is looked at, the U.S. is over 70% self-sufficient.

Advantages
There are several benefits to offshore drilling:
1. Jobs
Offshore oil rigs provide many primary, secondary and tertiary jobs. Primary workers are those who work on the rig itself and include specialized technicians, laborers, cooks, doctors, scientists and a number of other specialized workers. Secondary jobs are those that support the rig: food distributors who bring in supplies and parts manufacturers who help set up the rig itself. Tertiary jobs are found among those who transport the oil to refining stations and work onshore in labs and refining stations. Offshore oil rigs keep many people working and help support local economies. 2. Domestic Fuel

Offshore drilling helps the United States harvest rich deposits of oil that are located on domestic soil. This reduces dependency on foreign oil and brings the cost of oil down for the average American. Expensive transportation fees are avoided as oil harvested and refined domestically costs much less to transport.

Disadvantages
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