Oil Drilling in Alaska Pros and Cons


Alaska is a beautiful land that has plenty of natural resources to enjoy. One of those resources is a fossil fuel that we all use and love: oil. There may be vast reserves of oil, including shale oil that can be found in this wilderness. By looking at the pros and cons of drilling for it, we can determine if this is something that makes sense to do.

What Are the Pros of Oil Drilling in Alaska?

1. It would provide more oil resources to the market.
Oil is a commodity that is traded, which means it follows the path of supply and demand. If there is more oil available, then it will lower the overall per barrel costs of oil that must be paid. In turn, oil-based products all become cheaper as well.

2. It would further lessen foreign oil dependence.
Americans are some of the biggest consumers of oil and they import millions of barrels per day. Oil drilling in Alaska wouldn’t completely cut of American foreign dependence, but it could lessen the amount of money spent on imports dramatically.

3. It would create more jobs.
Oil drilling jobs typically pay in the upper Middle Class salary categories. These high paying jobs are greatly needed in an economy where some employees have had wages frozen since 2008.

What Are the Cons of Oil Drilling in Alaska?

1. It would decimate natural habitats.
Some of the wildlife that lives in Alaska can only be found there. By drilling for oil, their habitats would be reduced or become completely unlivable. This could wind up causing some species to become completely extinct.

2. There are contamination risks.
To move the oil to refinery locations, extensive pipelines would need to be built. Every joint of a pipeline is an increased risk of environmental contamination. An extensive pipeline would also make for a prime terrorist target because guarding every inch of it would be impossible to do.

3. It might not be financially beneficial.
Oil prices dropped dramatically in early 2015 and have stayed rather low. Low prices mean oil drilling may not even be profitable.

Is oil drilling in Alaska a good idea? There are some advantages to consider, but there are also disadvantages that must be evaluated. By taking a look at the whole picture, we can determine if this is the right choice to make.