Shell Drillings In The South Pole And Why It Is Not A Good Idea?

by / 22/01/2020 / 0 Comments

The demand for energy is ever increasing. As human population and consumption continues to surge at an exponential rate, the requirements for conventional fuels such as oil are only expected to increase. And even though alternative sources such as solar energy and wind energy are gaining popularity, there is no doubt that in the near future, the demand for fossil fuels is only going to swell.

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Shell And The South Pole

Considering these factors it is only natural that major oil companies are going to look for new reserves of oil around the world. As one of the global oil giants, Shell Oil too is seeking to explore new frontiers in oil reserves.

The South Pole or the Antarctic as it is popularly known represents a pristine environment yet largely untouched by man. However, in recent years there has been a lot of speculation regarding the news that there are, supposedly, “huge reserves of oil” in the South Pole. So, it is only natural that Shell Oil may be contemplating drilling in the South Pole in order to tap into its natural reserves. However, this is not a good idea, as is evident from the following.

Is The South Pole Truly Rich In Oil?

Although it is predicted that the South Pole’s oil reserves are estimated to be at about 200 billion barrels, the fact remains that this is only a prediction. No significant exploration or studies have been conducted which can give empirical data regarding whether the South Pole really holds oil reserves or not. In fact, it is highly likely that the South Pole does not really contain any oil reserves at all. Hence drilling for oil there might turn out to be a futile endeavor. Also, of import is the fact that even if oil reserves are found in the South Pole, the cost of such extraction would not be viable commercially.

The Environmental Impact Of Oil Drillings

Though drilling in the South Pole may not be currently viable, it is expected that with increasing demands for fossil fuels rising, Shell and similar companies will surely look towards exploring the South Pole for oil. This can have serious repercussions as far as the environment is concerned. The South Pole represents one of the ever-dwindling places on Earth which have yet to be marred by significant human activities. If any ventures such as drilling for oil take place in this pristine location, the results can be devastating. The clean environment of this region is important for both ecological as well as scientific reasons. Any major activities such as oil drillings will introduce the risk of events such as oil spills, industrial pollution and associated hazards which can harm the region permanently and also cause irreversible damage to the fragile ecosystem.

The Antarctic Treaty And The Future

In order to protect the South Pole and its environment, the Antarctic Treaty (which came into effect on June 23rd, 1961) has banned all mining and exploration in the South Pole. Although this should stop companies from venturing to exploit the resources of this region, the Treaty enforces the ban till 2048 only, when it comes up for review. So, it may well be the case that after such time, the South Pole may be open to drilling. Further, the countries which are not a part of the treaty can always carry out mining and drilling works, thus harming the environment.

Apart from the fact that it is economically unviable and environmentally hazardous, there is no real proof of existence of oil reserves there. Hence, all things considered, it can be safely said that drilling in the South Pole is not a good idea today or in the near future.


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