Deep Sea Drilling
Deep sea drilling refers to the perfunctory or mechanical processes involved in the drilling of a seabed. The process incorporates the drilling of a well through the ocean floor in order to carry out the exploration of naturally occurring minerals and hydrocarbons found within the ocean floor formations underneath the seabed. Recently, President Obama recently banned deep sea drilling because of the massive oil spill experienced in the Mexican Gulf, which was the largest oil spill in the history of the United States. Deep sea drilling has prosperous benefits to the United States’ economics despite the arguments against the process related to environmental degradation.
One of the most valid arguments for deep sea drilling is the independence the country will receive from relying on imported oil. Lifting the temporary sanction on the process would be an advantage to the United States. Regarding international trade, the U.S would be able to take advantage of its oil without worrying about oil exports from other countries despite the political environment of the country. The U.S economy will also gain from the suspension because if the oil massively consumed in the country were locally produced, then the trade deficit of the U.S will drastically lessen compared with the other countries. Additionally, lifting the suspension on deep sea drilling would enable the U.S avoid sanctions reinstated by hostile oil producing nations (Sandalow, 121).
Another argument in support of the lifting of the suspension is based on the extraneous costs the United States will experience if the drilling sanction is not lifted. The moratorium on the process will cost numerous job losses amounting 12000 retrenchments and alleviate costs of up to US$ 3 billion. Despite the advocacy for the cessation by scientists, lifting the cessation would lead to the creation of surplus jobs. Furthermore, the increase in the labor force will add marginal revenues attributed to the increase of extra laborers and further positively affect the growth of the United States economy (Mooney, 57).
It has also been scientifically proven that drilling lessens the quantity of oil that gets to the ocean surface from the floor. Naturally, oil effervesces from the floor of the ocean. The amount of oil that is released from the ocean floor is greater than the amount spilled because of accidental drilling practices. Lifting the ban on drilling will ensure that the pressure that accommodates the ocean floor is reduced, thereby reducing the case of a large oil spill if spontaneous or first time drilling takes place. Additionally, while reducing the pressure increasing in the floor of the ocean, drilling allows for the reduction of the oil seeping from the ocean floor into the ocean (n.p., 2010).
Despite the benefits accruing from lifting the moratorium on deep sea drilling, it is important to highlight some of the arguments created against the process. One of the major arguments surrounding deep sea drilling is its capacity to create widespread oil spills. Parts such as the Gulf of Mexico have been the worst areas affected by the oil spills due to the hurricanes that also affect the drilling process. For instance, 8 million gallons of oil were spilled because of Hurricane Katrina. Natural forces are not the only factors affecting the drilling process. The oil spills have also been attributed to drilling and transport facilities of crude oil over the waters, which create a massive negative effect as indicated by the frequency of oil spills all over the world (The Gulf Oil Disaster, 2010).
It was discovered that the United States permitted drilling without the required permits. The body responsible for awarding permits to deep sea drilling companies, Minerals Management Service, allowed several oil companies such as BP and other oil firms to commence their drilling process in the Mexican Gulf. Despite the strong admonitions from environmentalists regarding the environmental defects associated with drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Minerals Management Service did not heed the warnings, which were because the drilling processes were threatening to the endangered species (Urbina, 2010). Because of the oil spill, thousands of marine and flying mammals such as fish and seagulls perished respectively.
Scientists have also warned that deep sea drilling distracts the United States from discovering and devising alternative ways and methods of creating other sources of energy. These energy sources will also serve as economic benefits for the country. By finding alternative sources of energy, the United States will be able to cut its costs on funding for the drilling process and acquisition of drilling facilities. Moreover, scientists warn that excessive drilling of the seabed will lead to the excessive production of hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbons will deplete the ozone layer increasing the rate of global warming and cancer due to the excess radiation from the ultraviolet rays of the sun (Philander, 24).
Despite the negative factors surrounding deep sea drilling, it is possible to continue with the process since it has many positive effects compared to the negative. So far, oil spills in the United States have not been reported due to the preventive measures being taken by the government. Furthermore, the lowering of oil prices in the global economy will serve as an incentive for the U.S economy making it possible for the country to lessen its drilling process and at the same time import oil at a lower cost. Deep sea drilling can indeed be detrimental, but with proper regulation, it can benefit greatly the United States.
Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling : Report to the President. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 2010. Internet resource.
Mooney, Carla. Oil Spills and Offshore Drilling. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 2011. Print.
n.p. “Presidential Energy Debate Fact Check #1: Is Offshore Drilling the Answer?”. The Oil Drum, n.d., Web. 3 Oct 2012.
Philander. Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008. Print.
Sandalow, David. Freedom from Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States’ Oil Addiction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.
Urbina, Ian. “U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits”. The New York Times, 13 May 2010. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.