Stop Offshore Drilling: Argumentative Essay

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Offshore drilling may be one of the most effective ways we get the oil that fuels our cars, airplanes, and boats. The first oil rig was built in 1938 in about fourteen feet of water. As technology progressed, it was made easier to move further away from shore to pursue undiscovered oil reserves. Although oil is a necessity today, I believe it’s vital that we stop expanding offshore oil and gas drilling operations to protect our precious web of ocean life. Oil spills are an inevitable and unfortunate consequence of this toxic industry and cause extreme harm to the environment. The extraction of oil and gas is a dangerous operation that poses many risks I believe are not worth taking. Offshore drilling must be outlawed because it is incredibly dangerous to extract, increases the chances of an oil spill, and is extremely harmful to the environment.

Extracting crude oil is an extremely dangerous task that puts the safety and well-being of the workers in severe danger. Reports of oil rig sites becoming safer are nothing less than publicized propaganda to sway public opinion. Eleven workers died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion alone. The CDC reported the death rate in the oil and gas industry was about seven times higher than for all workers in the U.S. between the years 2003 and 2010. The danger of these sites could possibly be linked to the complex equipment used to drill. “One reason for this increased danger is the complex equipment needed to drill at such depths” (4). Oil rigs are large pieces of equipment that stretch thousands of feet below the seafloor and aren’t completely foolproof. Any problem with equipment while drilling at such depth could end in catastrophe.

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Extreme weather also poses a threat to the safety and well-being of workers. Ice, hurricanes, and storms “pose risks to the functionality of the rigs, and their distance from the land makes it harder for additional rescue personnel to promptly reach the areas in emergency situations” (4). Lastly, increasing the depth in which oil companies are drilling consequently makes plugging an oil leak more difficult. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was the world’s deepest well before exploding in 2010. BP’s Chief of Operations Doug Suttles admitted that many of the attempts to halt the oil leak failed because workers weren’t used to plugging a leak so deep.

Another reason why we should stop offshore drilling is that it increases the probability of an oil spill. As oil companies begin to exploit more difficult resources, such as offshore oil reserves, and transport oil longer distances, the chance of a spill increases. Drilling at new depths unlocks more opportunities for large oil companies competing to find more oil. However, with greater opportunity comes greater danger and less margin for error. With humans operating these pieces of equipment, there’s bound to be an accident. Less margin for error means workers would have to be nearly perfect while on the job, which is way too much to ask of the workers. As stated in “Ten years after Deepwater Horizon, offshore drilling creeps farther away from the shore”, “The probability of a serious accident, fatality, injury, explosion, or fire being reported grows by 8.5 percent with every additional 100 feet of depth at which an offshore platform operates,” (4). Today oil rigs stretch about 40,000 feet below the seafloor, with the data provided by experts continuing o drill would be completely disregarding the factual data that proves that the risk outweighs the reward of offshore drilling. Drilling with extreme water pressure and unpredictable pressure-filled pockets of gas also increases the risk of an explosion that would gush gallons of toxic oil into the sea.

The last reason we should stop offshore drilling immediately is that it’s extremely bad for the environment. Gallons of toxic crude oil is spilled into our precious oceans every day. There are countless smaller-scale oil spills that occur all the time but aren’t big enough to make national headlines. Excluding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, over twelve million gallons of oil has been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico between the years of 1964 and 2015. Keeping vital information like this from the public is part of the agenda of those in favor of offshore drilling in an attempt to keep the public backing a completely destructive industry. When oil is spilled into the ocean it destroys the natural flow of the ecosystem. The toxins of the oil seep down into the ocean killing and destroying marine life like the coral reef. Not to mention the hundreds of other animals that rely on the water. For example, the Deepwater Horizon spill polluted about a thousand miles of coastline and disrupted the region's fishing and tourism industries. Lastly, when the inevitable spill occurs, it will be impossible to clean up a hundred percent of the mess. It’s estimated that only about five percent of the four-point-two million barrels of the oil spilled in the gulf was removed during cleanup efforts. Leaving millions of gallons of crude oil polluting the water for decades.

The oil industry is a destructive industry that has no regard for safety, or the environment. Over the years the industry has become more and more focused on the money and not the harm that is being done. With the risk factors rising it is only a matter of time before another disaster occurs. We as a nation need to stand up to large oil companies and make them stop. We cannot sit idly by and watch as they destroy our oceans and ecosystems. It is vital that we stop offshore drilling because of the increasing danger while drilling, the chances of an explosion or spill are increasing every day and, too much oil is being lost at sea and will damage the ecosystem for decades.

Works Cited

  1. O’Malley, Martin. “Don’t Drill Along the East Coast.” New York Times, 2 Feb. 2015, p. A19(L). Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link-gale-
  2. Suh, Rhea. “Why We Must Stop New Offshore Drilling”. NRDC, 15 Jun. 2015,
  3. Reisewitz, Annie. “Trump’s Offshore Oil Drilling Program – Not in my Ocean “.
  4. National Geographic Society, 18 May. 2018,
  5. Calma, Justine. “Ten years after Deepwater Horizon, offshore drilling creeps farther away from the shore”, 20 Apr. 2020,
  6. Melina, Remy. “Why Is Offshore Drilling So Dangerous?”, 28 May. 2010,
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Stop Offshore Drilling: Argumentative Essay. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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