Pros & Cons of Offshore Drilling
Posted In: Energy/Environment.
Offshore drilling generally takes place off the coast, which could have a significant impact on the environment, especially on plants and animals. If there is a leak or some kind of spillage, like what happened in the Gulf of Mexico, this could have a devastating effect on all the living creatures, affecting the biodiversity of an area for years to come. Yet, the potential problems have not deterred companies from investing in offshore drilling. Oil is just too precious a commodity to leave in the ground, and profits mean everything to investors.
There are surely risk assessment groups that determine the pros and cons of offshore drilling, since there must be some positives as well as potential drawbacks associated with this process. In terms of the positive aspects, it is the financial benefits which are most evident. Offshore drilling means that more oil is discovered and processed domestically, which enables a greater amount of self-sufficiency and ensures that America and other nations don’t have to rely on oil supplies from South America or the Middle East.
More money for the economy
This is good news for the economy; because it means that oil will be cheaper domestically, since there will be an increase in the supply of oil to match the demand for it. There will more job opportunities for those involved in the offshore drilling industry and this will increase the tax revenues which the government can collect. People have more money to spend and the national economy benefits significantly, because the demand for oil is so great.
Puts the environment at risk
However, there are also problems associated with offshore drilling and these relate mainly to the environment. Any oil spillages can pollute the water and result in the death and destruction of marine life and other life forms. It is expensive to install offshore drilling equipment and the presence of such equipment can displace various sea creatures. Because of the expense, companies sometimes cut corners and this increases the risk that something could go wrong and that spillages could happen, which is clearly bad for the environment.
It may not be enough oil to begin with
Plus, offshore drilling won’t necessarily guarantee the reduction of oil prices and a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil. The equipment required to drill for oil has a detrimental impact on the environment and there may not even be enough oil in the ground to justify the expense or the damage offshore drilling causes. Offshore drilling may not even produce the oil required to meet domestic demand for oil.
The good and the bad of offshore drilling
Consequently, there may be both pros and cons associated with offshore drilling, but it would appear that the cons outweigh the pros in the case of BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There may be some economic benefits associated with offshore drilling, but even these are not guaranteed. However, offshore drilling continues to happen, and so it is evident that there are oil companies which are able to make a profit from this process.
More on drilling: Drilling for oil in Alaska.