Alaska, the largest and among the most beautiful states in the US, comes with plenty of resources as well. Among the resources is oil, a fossil fuel that the entire world depends on for fuel. There have been recent discoveries of huge oil reserves in the Alaska, especially on the North Slope. Speculated to be over a billion barrels of oil, it is the largest onshore discovery of oil in the country within the last three decades. Production has not started yet, but plans are underway. This makes it important to consider all the benefits that we will reap from it, as well as the cons that come with it. Below are some of the pros and cons.
Pros of oil drilling in Alaska
Provision of more oil resources in the market
Just like any other traded product, oil follows the chain of supply and demand. This means that when the oil hits the market, the supply to demand ratio will change. The result of this will be better oil prices to the consumers for all the products of oil.
Reduce dependence on foreign oil
America happens to be among the largest consumers of oil. Millions of oil barrels are imported to America every year. With the oil drilling in Alaska, it is expected that the amount of oil imported will reduce significantly. This means that reliance on the foreign countries for this important source of energy will also reduce.
Oil drilling comes with lots of job opportunities. Those who expect to benefit the most are the ones in the middle-class salary category. Given the current economy of the country as well as the high unemployment rate, this will come as a great advantage.
Cons of oil drilling in Alaska
Destruction of natural habitats
There are some unique species of wildlife, which can only be found in Alaska. The oil drilling is likely to interfere with those habitats, reducing them or completely wiping them out. This might result in some of those species becoming extinct.
Risks of contamination
There will be a construction of an extensive network of pipelines, which will be required to move the oil to the refineries. The pipelines pose a lot of risk to the environment in terms of spillage. The pipeline in itself can also be a terrorist target, which can result in catastrophic losses.