This essay will examine the pros and cons of the commonly used methods to extract oil; offshore and onshore drilling. We will compare the economic, political and environmental advantages and disadvantages of both offshore drilling and onshore drilling of black gold.
Extracting of black gold
Oil is drilled by penetrating through various earth layers to reach the deposits of the hydrocarbons. There are two methods of extracting oil; offshore drilling and onshore drilling methods. By definition, offshore drilling refers to drilling in the sea while onshore drilling refers to drilling in the land. Both the two methods have different impacts on the environment, economy and politics takes centre stage in opting for either method to be used or not.
Effects of offshore and onshore drilling on the environment. For offshore drilling, the production involves several risks. The most common being oil spills from burst pipes and oil tankers during transportation of oil, this causes water pollution. This is an environmental hazard to the sea animals and also those who consume sea food (Jervis R., Welch W., & Wolf R. (2008). Another has been the several miles of canals that are dug to lay pipelines for transporting oil, this has not only caused erosion but also weakens a buffer against storms and amplifies storms like the case of Hurricane Katrina. Another environmental hazard is the growth of petrochemical plants which can disrupt natural ecosystems in the coastline. For onshore drilling, the use of toxic chemicals which is released as toxic waste near residential areas (Gruver M. 2010). These toxics may contaminate water and air. There’s also the disturbance of natural fauna and flora during exploration and construction of infrastructure.
Economical Pros and cons of offshore and onshore drilling. The US is said to have large offshore deposits of oil and gas which have not been extracted. If extracted, the country’s oil prices will come down and it cold stop oil exports and in the end lessen the country’s trade deficit especially with oil producing countries. Apart from the low prices, consumers will also enjoy less fluctuation of oil prices. The economy will be supported as new jobs will be created during exploration and drilling thus reducing unemployment. The federal government through the treasury will also benefit by receiving royalties from leases for oil drilling by foreign companies (Bailey R. 2010). For onshore drilling, there’s a likelihood of exposure of biota and important areas which are used as tourist areas or recreation places and thus reducing money gotten from such areas. The visual and noise intrusions during exploration and drilling of black gold from such areas will drive tourists away. On the contrary, job openings are created during drilling thus boosting the economy as well as the treasury receiving royalties from foreign companies who have got leases to drill the black gold (Effects of onshore and offshore development 2005).
Political Pros and cons of offshore and onshore drilling. Because the US is said to have substantial amount of black gold in its seas, if extracted it will save itself on dependency of foreign countries for oil. It is said that the money used to buy this black gold is the same that they use to buy weapons and later wage war against the US. Thus if offshore drilling is exploited the US will have less conflicts about trade and money with Middle East countries. The US Presidential campaigns have also centered their energies on whether the US should go full swing to drill the black gold in the seas or just leave it as a reserve. There seems to be less interest in onshore drilling as it does not generate much heat like offshore drilling because it rarely does get rejection from politicians. Although the US does not produce a substantial amount of black gold from onshore drilling, it does complement the exports (Freudenburg W. & Gramling R. 1994).
Both offshore and onshore drilling of black gold have several pros and cons and the type that will be used for extraction will largely depend on the economic, environmental and political debates during the prevailing times. Both are hazardous to the environment as well as they do create jobs and do support the economy.