Off Shore Drilling

Topics: Petroleum, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Middle East Pages: 8 (2358 words) Published: June 1, 2014
Pande Putu Adysti Kardi
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5/4/2014

Should the Government Expand Off Shore Drilling in the U.S.? The crude oil industry has become prominent since mid 19th century. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the development of drilling methods has brought oil into a drastically larger extent of mass production. Petroleum is one of the important extracted compositions of crude oil in the U.S. Until today, it is globally used mainly as fuels in transportation. Other uses include heating homes, powering industry, and providing raw material for plastic manufacturing. The great importance of oil to the country has led to the exploitation of its resources in the past century. Not only exploiting land resources, the government is also beginning to exploit resources under the sea. Off shore drilling is the method of extracting crude oil from the seabed. It has been a controversial issue in the U.S. of whether or not off shore drilling should be expanded. In this essay, I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why some people are supportive of off shore drilling in the U.S., and why some people are in opposition to it. I will discuss three major aspects upon this issue; the three aspects are national security, economy and environment.

The first reason why some people support off shore drilling is that they believe that off shore drilling will not harm the environment due to the vast improvement of technology. The biggest environmental issue that is often associated with off shore drilling is oil spills. People believe that as time is progressing, rapid advancement in technology will make it possible to conduct off shore drilling at the safest way in order not to harm the environment. Based on statistics by http://www.itopf.com, oil spill cases have declined over the past few decades, which prove that technology has become better.

In line with the advancement of technology, a complete recovery of past oil spills have been proven to be attainable. An example of such cases is the success story of the recovery of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, which was struck with oil spills at 1989. Moreover, people believe that the cause of oil spills is not due to off shore drilling, but mainly due to natural seeps and petroleum transportations. A study proves that urban runoff and treated sewage dump deposits 12 times more petroleum into the sea than petroleum from offshore drilling.

A study at Lousiana State University has also been conducted to prove that off shore drilling is good for marine life. It is believed that oil production platforms cause improvements in marine life. The study suggests that there are 50 more times of marine life around an oil production platform than in the surrounding mud bottoms of the sea in Lousiana. It is believed that there is a correlation between the explosions of marine life with the building of oil platforms.

However, in opposition to this, some people believe that off shore drilling in the U.S. do pose serious environmental risks. They believe that technology advancement reduces the risks of oil spills but do not a hundred percent guarantee its nonoccurrence in the future. Once an oil explosion occurs, the damage will be extremely destructive to the environment and it will reach a point of no turning back. According to “Environmental and Commercial Perspectives” by Ted Danson, “approximately 120 million gallons of oil end up in the world’s oceans every year from oil platforms, marine transportations, vessel discharges, and accidents.” Many cases of oil spills had happened in the U.S. One of the greatest was the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, which caused the death of thousands of local marine creatures. Over 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs were killed. Oil damages organs of marine organisms and the long-term effects may cause impairments of...
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