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American Off-Shore Drilling: Crisis or Fortune Essay

Living within a country that thrives off of technology creates an infinite demand for power. From the extensive automobile power structure to the agricultural industry that America is reliant on, oil and natural gas are specifically necessary to make this part of the “go ‘round”. Within the gulfs, seas, and oceans that surround the United States of America lies illimitable amounts of natural oils, which are nestled in the crust of the earth.

Over the years, the retrieval, refining and use of this natural resource has been controversial for a mass variety of reasons, both sides presenting substantial reasoning as to the pros and cons to off-shore oil and natural gas drilling. Each American must determine their opinion once reviewing both sides of this issue. What cost is America willing to pay to grow in power at the world’s expense, or what amount of power is America willing to do without in order save the earth?

Off shore drilling is too vital to America’s economy to be done away with and due to advances in technology, it has become safer for both the environment and its inhabitants, more reliable, pragmatic, and affordable to both the manufacturers and consumers. Oil and natural gas companies such as Chevron, BP, and PennEnergy support the lives of millions upon billions of people through the natural gas and oil they drill from below the water of the oceans surrounding America. These companies are essential to let America be self-reliant in terms of power.

As stated by Gingrich, the U. S. spends $700 billion dollars each year on foreign oil imports. (148) The United States are more than capable to support themselves through the amount of natural resources available within it’s territory. “America is suffering from an artificial energy crisis that is also a dangerous national security crisis- artificial, because America is gifted with enormous reserves of energy; dangerous, because it makes us vulnerable to unreliable and potentially hostile countries. ” (Gingrich, XI) Statistics show that there is an estimated 18. 2 billion barrels of oil and 85. 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that could safely extracted from US area. (Gingrich, 139)

The resources are readily available and by keeping commerce within national borders, a country will continue to support its economy. Becoming dependent on other countries for items that are readily available within the borders is a complete waste. The United States government has put an extremely severe lock on more than eighty percent of all available area to conduct off shore drilling within the federal borders. Gingrich, 14) With rising prices, off shore drilling would be an intuitive choice on congress’ part that would create more job opportunities, more products available to export, and certainly more stability in the energy crisis.

The Scotsman newspaper published a statement that said that the off shore drilling industry would supplement “enormous opportunities” worldwide. With advances in technology, “Subsea processing, separating, compressing, and pumping are on the leading edge of offshore production technology, especially for deep and ultra deepwater and also harsh environments. (Kliewer, 1) The last major oil spill to occur within the Gulf of Mexico was in 1980. It is also fact that ninety-five percent of the oil that is found within the gulf is not caused by human activity at all.

Being that oil is a natural resource and readily available right below the surface, the majority of all oil comes naturally from the earth’s crust on its own. (Gingrich, 99) From the late twentieth century to today, companies have made it a personal goal to make their business as environmentally safe as possible, which benefits all parties involved. There are still continuous efforts to perfect this industry.

Oil and natural gas companies believe that the use of technology and innovation and incentives will make it unnecessary to raise taxes to clean up the environment. (Gingrich, 145) These companies want to work with conservationists and environmentalists to properly balance the extraction of natural resources with the wellbeing of the environment. This mindset portrays how maturely, sagaciously, and efficiently the oil and natural gas companies wish to continue their business. Conservationists and environmentalists believe that offshore drilling is nothing but detrimental to the natural occurrence of earth.

Offshore oil drills are immutably harmful to both the flora and fauna of the sea, land, and air from a conservationist’s point of view. Within the northern most division of the United States, Alaska, polar bears are at serious risk that could lead to extinction if and when an oil spill was to occur. “…Oil covered polar bears have little chance to survive spills, because the oil the bears ingest while trying to clean themselves could cause death. ” (Polar…) Deep offshore drilling projects have been said to lead to the emission of lethal gasses. Drilling in water depths greater than 500 feet releases methane, a greenhouse gas at least twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming. ” (Juhaz, 311) When a company goes into an area to drill for oil they must first evaluate the area with sonar machines to determine if there is any amount of oil to be obtained.

“Seismic survey devices and military sonars have been implicated in numerous whale beaching and stranding incidents, including a mass stranding of sixteen whales in the Bahamas in December 2001. (Juhaz, 313) Marine animals and fish have much more sensitive hearing than humans and therefore the sonar machines can damage their ability to attract mates and fend against predators. Environmentalists also scrutinize oil companies for the number of injuries that employees suffer while working on offshore oil rigs.

The HSE inspects all oil rigs throughout the gulf. Within the past few years, the number of injuries has dropped a considerable amount. It is believed though, that the only reason these numbers were lower is due to the fact that a smaller number of actual injuries were reported. Low…) Seaside communities can also feel the negative effects of oil spills. These communities have no choice in what washes up on their shores, where the majority of their popularity can come from. If an oil spill were to occur, it is not a guarantee that they would receive any compensation for the damages. Costal tourist communities would especially suffer. “‘If there’s one spill or one disaster, you could destroy us for a very long time. ’” (Juhaz, 314) Not only would their homes and communities be affected, but also their livelihood.

Offshore oil and gas companies have exemplary motives, standards, and hopes for their business. Environmentalists constantly attack these companies with verbose denunciation that is often not valid. For instance, Juhasz wrote in his book The Tyranny of Oil that somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of waste material is released into the water annually. This is misleading and obscure considering that the “waste material” consists of rock, mud, and minerals, all of which are overly abundant in the oceans without any human interference. 312)

Many environmentalists also choose to ignore the fact that oil rigs have become essential and permanent habitats for marine life. “…A growing debate is emerging between those who wish to see the rigs disappear entirely and the ones who believe that doing so would destroy an important habitat. ” (Rothbach) Even non-intentionally, the owners of oil rigs are benefitting the environment in which they conduct business. It is very possible that they are doing more good than harm to the fish and plants that they first intruded upon. It seems that environmentalists can be somewhat hypocritical in their attempt to extol their platform.

It is clear that environmentalists will fight against offshore drilling no matter what strides are made or facts are presented. The key is working to make a situation that benefits the consumers, companies, communities, and of course the environment. This is a very difficult task at hand but manageable. As mentioned before, oil and gas companies are making noticeable strides in “going green” to benefit the environment.

“Through creative decision making, solutions can be present themselves in a way that all parties will find reasonable, even if not ideal. (Rothbach) In order to prevent the dispersing of dangerous drilling fluids, companies are working to develop a water based, high alkaline solution of silica-based solutions called silanes. (Nowak) Companies are also working to “set tight standards on carbon dioxide emissions, it will drive more fuel efficient vehicles, which will in effect reduce our dependence on foreign oil. ” (Martin) Also, “subsea facilities are viewed as a path to bring production to market faster while extending life in the field. ” (Kliewer)

The country of America is most definitely reliant on energy. With each household having an average of two cars each, fuel is a considerable necessity. (Marlin) Environmentalists try to belittle the need for power that America has. This cannot be done. Power is a need that should be on the top of the list to be addressed. The process of which to obtain it is something that should be done with the environment in mind. With the steps already being taken to create an ideal balance, success is visible on the horizon.

With advances in technology it is more than possible for the oil industry to be clean, efficient, and environmentally friendly. “America could rival-even exceed- the world’s biggest energy powerhouses. ” (Gingrich, 39) The offshore oil industry is a gold mine just waiting to be taken advantage of. America has just scratched the surface of its potential below its oceans and seas. Considering the fact, that the advances in safety and efficiency have recently been perfected, the timing is perfect to really dive into the fortune that will take America to the top of the power chain in the world.


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