Farewell to the rig?
With the Gulf of the Mexico oil spill far from over, the six-month offshore drilling ban implemented by the White House would seem to make sense, giving BP and the Federal Government time to clean-up the current mess as well as re-address US policy when it comes to oil drilling and energy overall.
However Niraj Chokshi, a blogger for The Atlantic, believes the six-month drilling ban could make things worse for the US. He argues that the offshore drilling ban "could encourage companies to move their rigs to other parts of the world, increasing the nation's reliance on imported oil."
Not just that but it "would also increase our reliance on long-distance shipping to bring that oil to the US and increase the probability of oil being spilled at sea", he says citing figures from Tulance University professors that tanker accidents are responsible for about two-thirds of marine oil spills.
Now, I guess 'bad for the US' depends on what you consider 'bad'. For Mr. Chokshi, he believes that by forcing oil companies to up stakes and move elsewhere would cost the US massive amounts of cash, due to the fact oil companies pay approximately $450,000 per day to lease oil rigs.
However, when you consider the current price-tag for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is currently $1 billion and is expected to climb to $25 billion, one must weight up the bigger cost. And sometimes it's just not financial...
In terms of renewable energy, the US has made cursory attempts at weaning itself off oil, but at its heart the US is hooked on black gold. Some have argued that the Gulf of Oil spill is the 'extreme disaster' needed to force the country to reassess its energy future and drilling policy and that focus should be less on the here and now, but establishing an energy policy that will be valid generations from now, not just in the next decade.
The Obama administration itself was all for offshore drilling up until the disaster, a stance it has since reversed saying that oil was needed in order to break a reliance on foreign supplies, but if this ban continues that reliance is still in place.
Well at least for six months....
And that seems to be the problem, all these reactions and policies are all incredibly short-term. The Gulf clean-up is expected to last for decades, so it is doubtful that the US will be able to forget about this disaster any time soon, but will it be enough to implement any sort of energy change or are mistakes destined to be repeated?
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill: What happens next? | Gulf oil slick: A boon to future alternative energy? | How America can reduce its oil dependency | What does the oil spill mean for US drilling policy?
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