The Pros and Cons of Offshore Drilling Over the last decade, there has been much debate about the impact of offshore drilling on the environment. Supporters claim that it allows us to gain extensive energy benefits, while non-supporters claim that it causes significant harm to the oceans and the atmosphere. With all of the opposing claims and extensive discussions on the subject, it’s difficult to determine who is right and who is wrong. What is Offshore Drilling? Offshore drilling uses a sophisticated mechanical process that draws petroleum out of rock formations found under the ocean’s sea bed. With a complex subsea safety system, drilling can reach depths of hundreds or thousands of meters into the ocean’s floor. Offshore drilling uses a combination of production methods depending on the location and ocean’s depth. Productions methods include stationary facilities on the ocean’s floor, stationary or floating platforms, and underwater mobile units with semi-submersibles. Offshore drilling is a controversial activity that has both advantages and disadvantages for our economy and environment: Advantages Independent Oil Supply One of the main advantages of offshore drilling is the opportunity for self-sufficient oil supplies that don’t come from foreign countries. When the United States or any country relies on oil from outside suppliers, it often comes with a high economic and political price. The supply and demand of oil has a huge impact on oil prices which affect consumers on various levels. PRT Offshore can increase oil supplies and reduce oil demands which lower prices. More Job Opportunities Offshore drilling requires certain skills and a variety of people including architects, engineers, deep sea divers, labor workers, and office personnel. A large drilling facility may employ hundreds of workers for necessary tasks. Offshore drilling opens up good job opportunities with high salaries for people with the right skills. This helps to boost local economies and create jobs for thousands of people. Disadvantages Environmental Hazards A major concern of offshore drilling is the possibility of oil spills that can have devastating effects on the environment. As witnessed in oil spills around the world, the impact to the ocean’s marine life, food supply, underwater reef systems, and mammals and birds is harsh. An oil spill can destroy an eco-system and cause intense fires and explosions. When an oil spill occurs, fish and marine life often die and consequences such as pollution and job losses can be felt for years by surrounding communities. Air Pollution Even with proper prevention methods, offshore drilling does contribute to air pollution and increased carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Both of these issues create a negative impact on global warming. Similar to fracking practices, offshore drilling increases problems with clean air and contributes to an unhealthy atmosphere for humans and animals.