For the sake of existence, we constantly make decisions that sacrifice environmental values. The U.S. oil supply-demand balance is insurmountable. Risky offshore drilling for oil and gas would take us down to an indecent state. Economic and technological development is the key to swift advancement in the oil and gas industry.
According to EIA (US Energy Information Administration), the United States consumed a total of 6.95 billion barrels of petroleum products (19.05 million barrels per day) in the year 2014. The petroleum market is entirely depended on the supply and demand. When there is more oil extracted then the prices are lower and consequently crates lower prices for other important commodities like plastic and fuel. By 2040, oil consumption in US will reach to around 119 MMbbl/d* from 87 MMbbl/d in 2010 (EIA-IEO2014).
In the recent time, US oil production is on the rise and creating tens of thousands of job. The bonafide oil boom to meet the need of human inconveniency is unavoidable. However, there are risks. No one denies the environmental risks of drilling for oil in ocean. No matter how careful the oil companies are, accidents that damage the environment and human well-being at least temporarily might happen. Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, Santa Barbara, Piper Alpha and Texas City Accident are examples of piercingly pronounced incidents around the world. In every cases, human errors are attributed for those accidents.National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling have concluded that the worst ever BP accident in Gulf could have been prevented.
There are many reasons that it makes sense to drill offshore. We certainly should continue to allow and promote offshore drilling, despite of experiencing numerous challenges. There are unquestionable high demands for fossil fuel. As availability declines, prices increase and decisions must be made on where drilling is acceptable. When countries like the United States are able to drill their own oil, they can be independent from countries like those belonging to OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
But, the central thought is how we administer this critical means of human civilization. Accountability in the corporate petroleum industry, policy measures, information disclosure policy, technological improvement, social justice, community participation, constant monitoring, increasing fuel efficiency and advanced research on offshore drilling can prevent another mega accident. Instead of profit maximizing, companies should focus on safety measures effectively.
Offshore drilling is extremely complex structures and the slightest mistake can be devastating to the environment and economy. Federal Government, State Government, community and companies needs to capitalize from the past experience, so that we can enhance our control of drilling risks and costs. Government and companies are often disregard socio-economic effects (e.g. Fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and recreation) and effects on human health. Only truthful commitment and enhanced reliability towards a safer petroleum industry can reduce these risks.
* MMbbl/d – Million Barrel per Day