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8 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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Daniel Putney

November 19, 2012

Erin Campion

English 114

The Cost of

Reliable

Energy


We all know that energy is a huge issue around the world. Energy is the reason
for war
,

but is also the reason

why countries around the world have

prospered the way
they have. For America, I can easily say that oil has made i
t what

it

is. It s
tarted out by
lighting homes the
n powered our first vehicles. From there it has
changed

America.
You see oil's
impact

everywhere you look and there is no d
enying that. Rockefeller was
the first man to make money off this black gold and he solely
created the industry.
From this point on, the oil industry took off and became a worldwide necessity.


In today's society, many are skeptical of how much oil we
have left. Some say
that we need to convert to renewable energies. All though this would be awesome in
the land of butterflies and rainbows, this is highly unrealistic. We could always lighten
our dependence on oil through other energy sources, but ther
e is no way we could just
take all the cars that Am
ericans own and convert them in
to an "electric

car". The thing
that most do no
t understand is that everything on an electric car takes oil to make.


So there are the people who say we should stop findin
g and drilling for oil, and
then there are those people who think that we need to keep extracting oil and maximize
the oil on our own soil. This ea
gerness to drill our own oil has

led the United State's
biggest oil companies to travel off
-
shore in pursuit

of

the world's leading commodity. In
the eyes of the big
w
higs

who run the oil companies
,

oil found off our coasts is a great
economic benefit for America. After the incidents that took place with the Exxon Valdez
spill and the explosion of the Deep
Water Horizon many Americans feel that the cost of
off
-
shore exploration exceeds the

benefit
s
. The analysis of facts from both sides of the
argument needs to be taken into accoun
t to be able to come up with an accurate
answer to whether or not off
-
shore d
rilling is worth what is at stake.


The reason I am writing on this subject is because my dream in life is to be a
drilling engineer for an oil/gas company. At some point in my career I plan on being an
engineer on an offshore rig and so the question of
whether we should keep exploiting
the oil we have off our coast or stop drilling. Technology used extract oil is behind the
ability engineers have to find the oil (Rocheleau 20). In other words, engineers are
finding oil in some of the deepest places in t
he ocean but the technology they are using
to extract the oil that deep is not up to par and the end result is what happened in the
Gulf oil spill. My goal is to be a member of the engineering team that makes the
technology advanced enough to extract oil
anywhere.


There are two sides to the argument of whether offshore drilling is practical or
not. One side of the argument says that is very harmful to the environment and
surrounding societies. The other side of the argument disagrees and believes it is
safer
than most people think
,

when the precautions are taken
,

and the economic benefits are
tremendous.

When you think of the disasters and negative effects that come from off
-
shore
drilling most people in this day and age think about the Deepwater Horiz
on in the Gulf of
Mexi
co. There is no doubt that this rig explosion in the Gulf was horrible and that shows
in the numbers. A study was done that showed shocking statistics. Between the period
of April 22, 2010 and June 3,2010
,

the average amount of oil

leaked was
56 thousand

barrels per day and this is not

even inclu
ding secondary leak areas, this was just the
main extraction point. When all was said and done the same study showed that
that
between April 22 and June 3 a total of four million four
hundred
,

thousand barrels of oil
were leaked into the Gulf of Mexico (Tolstoy,
&
Chrone).

It is obvious that the

environmental

damage done by this
event

was extreme. We al
l had seen
its

impact
on
marine life and the birds that were coated in the black st
icky oil. One of the biggest
problems was the effects on estuaries and the

wetlands where the oil was taken by the
current and then

trapped. This proved to be an issue because just about ninety
-
seven
percent of the commercial fish and other species thriv
e in this area
(Upton). So not only
did it effect the marine life, i
t completely
damaged the economy of the society around
the Gulf of Mexico. The societies in this area

that

relied exclusively on

not only

the
commercial fi
shing and marine life, but also on tourism which was completely
diminished

as well.


There is no doubt that the incidents that have happened with the offshore drilling
have been detrimental a
nd horrific to say the least, b
ut in the defense of oil companies
,
they have been taking steps and making it safer for workers, ocean life, and even the
cities on nearby coast lines.
One of those steps would be the engineering of the Blow
-
Out Preventer. In 1934, Harry Wicke
rsham and Erwin Burns sent their

invention of

the
Blow
-
Out Preventer to the United States Patent Office. In my eyes this invention was
the best invention in off
-
shore drilling.
The Blow
-
Out Preventer (BOP) is a devise that is
made to stop gas from rushing to the rig floor. Often when drilling, the

drill pipe will hit a
pocket of gas and that gas will rush to the surface to release pressure. When the BOP
senses this change in pressure it will stop the rig and close off the pipe and then
transport that natural gas to a
flare stack where it is then b
urned off
(Wickersham, and
Burns).


There are regulations set forth for oil companies to
maintain the working
conditions of the BOP. That is where British Petroleum went wrong with the Deepwater
Horizon explosion. They decided to bypass the maintenance of the BOP to save money
and
it ended up costing people their lives, harming the environme
nt, and harming

society.


Eac
h side of the argument has valid points to their case. There is no doubt that
the incidents that took place in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico

were horrific and should have
never happened. The damage cause
d

by that spill will
forever have an impact on the
Gulf along with all the

other

areas that have been impacted by spill
s,

such as Santa
Barbara. We need to look at everything that can possibly go wrong and then regulate
those issues so they can't happen.

If you look at the a
mount of oil that was spilled into
the Gulf, which was
four million
,

four hundred thousand barrels, it really puts into
perspective of how much damage was done (Tolstoy, and Chrone). No matter how
much work British Petroleum
puts into restoring the Gulf of Mexico, it will never be
enough.


So why wouldn't we just stop all oil production and keep buying from
the
Organization o
f Petroleum Exporting Countries

(
OPEC
)
? Because regardless of how
much oil we produce here in the Uni
ted States
, as of right now

we will still buy from
OPEC.
The answer is simple. Many of the wars in the Middle East, the heart of OPEC,
are caused by OPEC's control over the world's oil market. And if you didn't realize by
now we are involved in every wa
r in the Middle East for the simple fact that we are a
huge con
tributor to OPEC. The more petroleum we find, extract, and refine here in the
states the less reliant we are on OPEC for our oil. In the short run and long run this will
be a huge benefit to
our economy.


Each side of the argument has valid points to their case
.

One view is
environmental and other is economical. Now is there a room for compromise? Are we
able to exploit our oil off
-
shore but still be able to keep things environmentally and
s
ocially safe? I believe there is a middle ground. This middle ground is allowing energy
companies to drill off
-
shore but making sure the regulations are stricter and enforced
more by the government. The safety instruments have been invented, but when
co
mpanies have a choice to not use them to save money we run into a problem.



Works Cited

Rocheleau, Matt. "Offshore drilling: industry rates its own equipment substandard."
Christian Science Monitor

[Boston] 21 July 2010, 20. Print.

Tolstoy, Maya, and Timothy J. Chrone. "Magnitude of the 2012 Gulf of Mexico Leak."
Science Mag
. AAAS.org, 23 2010. Web. 21 Nov 2012.
<http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6004/634.short>.

Upton, Harold F.. "The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the."
Congr
essional Research
Service
. N.p., 17 2011. Web. 21 Nov 2012.
<http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/159014.pdf>.

Wickersham, Harry P., and Erwin Burns. "Blow
-
Out Preventer." . United States Patent
Office, 06 1937. Web. 24 Nov 2012.
<http://www.google
.com/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT2071197&id=BiNhAAAA
EBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=blow out preventer&printsec=abstract