Alaska is the largest state in the United States and also the least populated. The state is surrounded by Canada and the Arctic and Pacific oceans. A large portion of Alaska's economy is the oil and natural gas industry, including government offices, shipping industries, oil transportation and oil drilling. The topic of oil drilling in new areas of Alaska causes much debate, however, there are many advantages to drilling for oil in Alaska.
The technology of Arctic exploration is one of the most advanced and allows for minimal impact with the expectation of maximum return. This means while the footprint of development decreases the technical rates of return increases. Drilling for oil in Alaska has the potential for discovering one of the largest quantities of oil with small footprints in Northern America. The resulting discovery is important as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which supplies the American West Coast with oil, is in decline and will be shut down without any new oil discoveries.
Sustaining wildlife is always a concern in decisions regarding utilising the Arctic oilfields. The Arctic fields are home to several animals including fox, brown bear, musk oxen, and fish and bird populations. These animals are monitored daily by state and federal wildlife specialists for any problems or negative impacts which may occur due to the drilling. The allowed exploration and oil drilling area is small, and approximately 1 per cent of the area acts as a drilling site. The area's wildlife and gas and oil development can coexist successfully in the Arctic.
According to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the United States imports up to 60 per cent of its oil from other countries, which amounts to approximately £260 billion dollars per year. An advantage of drilling for oil in Alaska is the revenue it would bring to the United States. Billions of dollars stand to be gained with the various taxes, lease rentals, royalties and bonus bids connected to oil drilling. The services, materials, and infrastructure needed to drill in Alaska would create thousands of jobs throughout the country.
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