Today, with the continual and rapidly growing need of energy demand by big nations like United States and China continuing to furnish their domestic consumptions of oil have led to increased prices of gasoline whereby alternative forms of energy production are sought. With this in mind, offshore drilling can be a viable option for satiating the need of oil and also to boost the economy of the nation.
In this report, I am going to discuss how the current Deepwater Horizon rig explosion has led to disastrous oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico causing environmental problems and also discuss how the oil spill if resolved and with safe and secure drilling techniques, the economic impact of offshore drilling can outweigh the environmental issues. Concerning the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20, 2010, which escalated into a massive amount of oil spillage from the well reservoir as the oilrig sunk killing eleven crewmembers on board.
The key players related to the rig explosion are British Petroleum (BP), Transocean, rig owner, and Halliburton. BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items. (“BP at a glance,” 2010) Transocean, the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor and the owner of Deepwater Horizon rig, provides the most versatile fleet of mobile offshore drilling units to help clients find and develop oil and natural gas reserves. “A Next Generation Driller is INNOVATIVE,” 2010) Halliburton, founded in 1919, is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. With over 50,000 employees in approximately 70 countries, the company serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the life cycle of the reservoir – from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data, to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field. “Corporate Profile,” 2010) Oil drilling is the process of extracting crude oil by drilling through the bottom of the ocean floor where decays of dead plants and animals under high temperature and pressure have formed into crude oil. (“Pros and Cons of Oil Drilling,” 2010) Oil drilling should be allowed in order to lower the fuel prices that will play a significant role in the economic growth of the country. If oil drilling is banned in a particular region, it leads to a situation, whereby the dependence on other countries for oil increases. In simpler words, oil import level increases and consequently, affects the overall country’s income.
With the development of new technologies, it has been stated that oil drilling can be done without damaging the environment and/or disturbing the plant and animal habitats. Another benefit of oil drilling is that drilling itself and development of land after the process will help in engaging people, thus creating jobs for hundreds of citizens. Overall, oil drilling will improve the economy of the people and the country. (“Pros and Cons of Oil Drilling,” 2010) One of the major negative impacts of oil drilling is the environmental issue. If oil production rate is higher, then there will be more usage, thus generating more greenhouse gases.
It is obvious that the drilling process will disturb the organisms surviving in those areas. The success rate of drilling is also very low, meaning that it may take lots of time and the outcome is unpredictable. Another major issue is offshore drilling; starting from locating to the drilling process, it disturbs the sea environment. While locating oil, the seismic waves and the associated sound affects the sea organisms and another debate is about oil spillage in the seas. (“Pros and Cons of Oil Drilling,” 2010) The local wildlife affected by the oil spill as portrayed on the wall street journal are illustrated with the following figure. “Lawmaker Questions Staffing Level Aboard Rig,” 2010) Figure 1. Showing different species of ocean world being endangered by Gulf Oil Spill. There can be piles of information for environmental damages and wildlife hazards that can be related to the present oil spill scenario. Millions of barrels of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico greatly hampers the environmental conservation and critically affects the natural ecosystem. The oil spill has killed many disperse amount of fishes available in the ocean which in turn has affected the livelihood of many fishermen and their families.
With all the claims for personal livelihood, business losses around the gulf area, and the environmental cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico, BP took the responsibility for all the claims, which in turn would cost BP an estimated amount of $12. 5 billion or more. (“BP oil spill 2010: How much will it cost? ” 2010) I believe it is not the problem that we face but it is the problem that we overcome makes us stronger and gives us faith within. So, it is up to the big corporations like BP, Transocean and Halliburton to overcome the current problem of oil spill and develop a new and different strategy to solve the roblem of deep underwater oil-leak. It should be immediate for the big corporations to utilize the talented and intelligent minds to innovate new ways to stop the deep underwater oil-leak, which is taking heavy toll on the environment. As an immediate and hasty step to the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, President Obama proposed a moratorium on April 20, which halted approval of new permits for deepwater drilling, suspended drilling at 33 exploratory wells and on May 27 was announced to be extended for six months. “Judge Lifts Obama’s Moratorium on Deepwater Oil Drilling,” 2010) In my opinion, the moratorium should not have been prolonged for six more months, but should be terminated only when the deep underwater oil leak have been sealed. U. S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and has owned stock in a number of petroleum-related companies also called off for the imposed moratorium, which was hampering local businesses.
Ewell Smith, the executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said that the fishing and oil communities coexist in Louisiana and it’s not uncommon for our cousins, brothers, aunts, or fathers to work in the oil business. He also said that our fishing communities are teetering on the edge, and while I believe the President is trying to help our fishing communities; his decision to keep the moratorium in place will pull the rug right from underneath our fishermen and their families. “ The federal agency, Mineral Management Service, which is in charge of not only selling leases for energy companies to search for oil and gas on federal lands but also overseeing the safety of those operations generates more than $13 billion in annual revenues from federal offshore and onshore mineral leases. (“S. Elizabeth Birnbaum,” 2010) Abdalla Salem El Badri, secretary-general of the 14-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), says offshore drilling is an important source of oil, which accounts for extraction of 25 million barrels of oil every year while only 9 million barrels of oil comes from OPEC countries. “OPEC Urges U. S. to Reconsider Offshore Drilling Ban,” 2010) Offshore drilling produces oil and natural gas. They sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs and account for about 30% of the oil produced in the United States and 13% of the natural gas. The deepwater Gulf, where the accident occurred, accounts for 80% of Gulf oil production. Many Americans continue to support drilling offshore to help meet the nation’s energy needs. They know producing at home ore of the oil and natural gas our economy requires creates American jobs, increases revenue to government and keeps more of the economic benefits of energy development in their own country. (“Offshore drilling remains vital to US,” 2010) Even though there were 11 fatal casualties of the crewmembers working on the Deepwater Horizon rig, some families of the crewmembers still support the offshore drilling. On June 7 2010, the widows of two Deepwater Horizon crewmembers called at a congressional hearing for stepped up safety enforcement in the offshore drilling industry, and voiced their support for continuing to drill offshore. I fully support offshore drilling and I always will,” said Natalie Roshto, of Liberty, Miss. , whose husband, Shane, was among 11 people killed in the blast. (“Obama to Reopen Oil Drilling,” 2010) In a nutshell, I like to say that there has been a substantial damage to the environment due to the current BP oil spill however, BP has played a responsible role and has approved different claims arising from the oil spill, which has cost BP billions of dollars. Also, if the current oil spill can be stopped with proper utilization of technology and innovation, the offshore drilling can be a crucial factor for the economic boosting of the nation.