The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Offshore oil drilling in the United States should be legalized

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/16/2011 Category: Economics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,154 times Debate No: 17530
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)




Round 1 is acceptance, and then I will post my opening argument round 2, same as Con. After that it's simple debate procedure
Round 3: Refutations/argument expansions
Round 4: Final refutations, conclusions (No new arguments or facts!)

I eagerly await someone to accept this challenge.


I thank the Instigator for this challenge and gladly accept. I hope to have an interesting and entertaining debate. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for taking this challenge, and wish him luck!
I will first start by listing my contentions for opening offshore drilling in the United States.

1. Cuts reliance on foreign oil

The United States consumes nearly one-fourth of the world's oil but produces only about 10%. Its 1.76 billion-acre Outer Continental Shelf, which extends from about 3 to 200 miles offshore, is prime hunting ground.

At any moment, a country in our top 15 of oil imports, such as Venezuela or Iraq, could become or already have become threats to our economy. Venezuela (#4 in oil imports) {} is ruled by a dictator, while Iraq (#6) is currently inhabited by terrorists, American soldiers, and a fledgling government. Are these really the countries we want to depend on for our economy? Because let's face it, even if we want to change what route we take energy wise, oil is going to be in our future for at least the next couple decades. "Under any model of the country's energy future, we will still need more oil and gas over next 20 years," according to Sara Banaszak, senior economist at the American Petroleum Institute.
Imagine our country, so strong and stout, being brought down by an unstable foreign country on which we rely for our fuel; our source of power for all manner of machine. Such a notion is completely offensive, and we need to change this now. Offshore drilling can help meet that need to be dependent and will boost domestic economic activity. Senator McCain agrees, stating while he was campaigning... 'The ultimate goal, the candidate said: to "stop sending $700 billion a year (for oil) to countries that don't like us very much."' It is completely absurd to fuel a possible insurgency against America (such as Iraq) as opposed to stimulating our economy and fueling our machines. Who knows where the money we send to these unstable countries is really going, and with something as critical as oil, we shouldn't take the gamble.

2. Increase in Economic Activity

There are billions and billions of dollars just laying under sea, waiting for us to claim it. Who knows, with all the oil off our shores, it might even solve the lingering problem of our huge national debt. One thing is for certain, however; it would be irrational and illogical to leave such valuable treasures beneath the ocean floor, for our economy, and our people.

There is an estimated 45 billion barrels in the gulf of Mexico alone, not to mention 68 billion barrels which is estimated to be in already legal drilling spots. By most estimates, at least 18 billion barrels of oil can be produced from other areas that are off-limits, on top of 68 billion barrels in areas where drilling is allowed. The 18 billion barrels would be enough to fuel the country for 2� years. If you do the math, that's 8.75 years of total independence on oil, leading to hundreds of thousands of more American jobs to those unemployed, and to the families of those employed, it means finally a break in poverty and a chance to help our country grow.

It would be useful to figure out if the costs, economic and ecological, outweigh the benefits of producing offshore oil. Luckily, a recent study by Georgetown University economist Robert Hahn and Milken Institute economist Peter Passell offers some insight to this question. Published in the December 2009 issue of Energy Economics, their study "The economics of allowing more U.S. oil drilling," finds that the benefits of producing offshore oil greatly outweigh the costs.

In their analysis, Hahn and Passell look at three types of benefits: producer revenues, lower prices to consumers, and less fluctuation in oil prices. These benefits are considered in a scenario in which oil is priced at $50 per barrel, and in another in which it goes for $100 per barrel. (The current price is around $85 per barrel.) At $50 per barrel they estimate that 10 billion barrels of oil would be recoverable from the off-limits outer continental shelf, and at $100 this rises to 11.5 billion barrels.

On the cost side of the ledger they calculate that it would cost $17 per barrel to produce offshore oil at $50 per barrel and $20 per barrel at $100 per barrel. They incorporate a Minerals Management Service estimate of $700 million as the cost of the environmental damage [PDF] caused by producing 10 billion barrels of oil offshore. They include an estimate of damage caused by greenhouse gases produced by burning the oil as fuel, and the direct costs of local air pollution, and traffic congestion and accidents. So what did they find?

At $50 per barrel, the benefits of offshore oil production in the formerly off limits areas of the outer continental shelf would garner $492 billion in revenues, $42 billion in lower oil prices, and reduce the cost of oil price disruptions by $42 billion, yielding total benefits of $578 billion. The direct drilling costs would come to $166 billion, environmental costs $1 billion, greenhouse gas damages $1 billion, local air pollution $28 billion, traffic congestion $28 billion, and traffic accidents $32 billion, for a total cost amounting to $255 billion. So at $50 per barrel the benefits of producing 10 billion barrels of offshore oil would be $323 billion greater than its costs.

At $100 per barrel, outer continental shelf oil production of 11.5 billion barrels of oil would reap $1.15 trillion in revenues, lower oil prices by $99 billion, and reduce the costs price disruptions by $51 billion, resulting in total benefits of $1.3 trillion. Drilling costs would be $238 billion, environmental costs and greenhouse gas damages would total $2 billion, the costs of local air pollution, traffic congestion, and traffic accidents would be $22 billion, $33 billion, and $38 billion respectively. So the total costs of producing 11.5 billion barrels of offshore oil would be $332 billion. Hahn and Passell calculate that at $100 per barrel, the net benefits of producing offshore oil would come to $967 billion, or a trillion dollars. That, in the feds hands, could save our debt, and bring great changes to this country, while actually helping the environment, which will be discussed on my next contention, but before that, let's think real quick. These numbers are always changing (the price of oil and the amount we use, for instance). We need to put this in to perspective so everyone can actually see the negative effects of keeping all offshore drilling illegal. The costs on the ban: A new study commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) details the social, economic and environmental effects of oil exploration on and beneath federal lands. The report estimates that consumer energy costs will increase and cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) will decrease by $2.36 trillion over the next two decades. This is directly from negligence on the part of this country to open up offshore drilling.

3. Oil drilling lowers pressure of natural oil seepage

Oil in the ocean naturally seeps out, causing all manner of environmental problems. The pressure in the chambers that contain the oil reach a breaking point, and new oil seep spots pop up often. With oil drills in place, it will alleviate the pressure buildup and allow for an exit point for all the oil, not only benefiting America, but benefiting the environment as well. A risk of oil spills, albeit greatly diminished with improved technology, does exist with new drilling activity. But it would also significantly reduce the pressure on offshore seeps and decreases marine oil pollution. Bruce Allen, co-founder of SOS California has argued to lift state and federal moratoriums on offshore oil production. SOS California's new documentary, A Crude Reality, points out the environmental problems oil seeps present. (

I await my opponents response


I. Resolution: The burden on the Con is to prove that the United States should not legalize offshore oil drilling. Thus, providing a better alternative is sufficient to negate.

II. Case

A. Overview: My strategy is going to focus on the benefits of continuing to invest in Petrobras, the national energy company of Brazil. The US Export-Import Bank has already "issued a 'preliminary commitment' letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount" (1). The plan is to continue along the current trend of investment instead of advocating US-based oil drilling.

B. Timing: Right now is the key time to increase investment.
1. "The Bush Administration's five-year plan (2007-2012) to open the outer continental shelf to oil exploration included new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico" (2). This means that all of the impacts my opponent claim out of the Affirmative Case (AC) reference the amount of available oil can still be accessed through my advocacy.
2. "Brazilian state oil company Petrobras raised $70 billion on Thursday in the world’s biggest share offering, giving the company the financial muscle it needs to tap vast offshore oil reserves. The cash will help fund the world’s largest oil exploration plan, which at $224 billion for the 2010-2014 period aims to turn Brazil into a major energy exporter" (3). Brazil has already become the world's 4th largest company after the IPO, and is in position to become the world's largest oil producer by 2014.
3. Officials "have announced new discoveries since April 2011, and it was also announced that no fewer than 174 new licenses would be auctioned by Brazil in September. Brazil’s huge and highly productive pre-salt reserves will no doubt be a focus of many new rigs in the coming years" (4). There will be at leave 174 new rigs licensed by September of this year that will lead to spikes in production.

C. Advantage 1 - Economics:
1. Because Petrobras is a public company, investing through preferred shared allows the United States to claim profits through all Petrobras sales. This helps two-fold:
i. When we buy oil from Petrobras, some of the money spent is coming back to our reserves to slash the price.
ii. When everyone else buys oil from Petrobras we make a profit. This will help to cut the country's debt.
2. Brazil is quickly becoming a developed nation and this new-found capital will allow them to expand their infrastructure and industries. This makes it a prime market for U.S. exports. Creating economic ties with Brazil through Petrobras donations will increase the chances to having access to this rapidly emerging gold-mine.

D. Advantage 2 - International Relations:
1. "Petrobras, an integrated energy company and the global leader in deepwater oil exploration and production, operates in 27 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe" (5). Many countries around the world rely on Petrobras for the development of oil rigs. In buying shares of Petrobras, we create economic ties to this countries. They will be more open to political relations which will help promote American Interests abroad.
2. Petrobras is emerging as a political powerhouse in Latin America. This is a region where the United States has weak political relations. By allying ourself with what looks to be the economic powerhouse of the region we can start to repair our damages with the region and build new relations.

Onto my opponent's case.

C1: My plan gets out of the impacts of the first contention. Brazil will rely on the United States for funding and thus cannot simply cut-off sales. Also, it is a publicly owned company so it can't politically choose not to sell oil to the United States.

C2: There is no timeframe for when this economic activity will occur. He claims that there are oil reserves to be tapped but doesn't explain how long it will take us to access them. We have no quantifiable way to weigh the impacts. As for the Hahn-Passell study, you can cross-apply my economic advantage to see why we will still be making money. He also tries to say that the economic activity outweighs enviromental damage, but this simply isn't true. You can't buy a clean environment. Petrobras is actually being environmentally friendly, "The Capuava Refinery (Recap), in São Paulo, is a concrete example of water reuse; it is the first unit with zero effluent disposal" (6). They are already utilizing technology to be economically friendly. You can't just buy clean water, you have to work towards it. Also we can look at how the deep-water horizon spill effected the economy negatively, and this happened ONE MONTH before the study was released. The authors obviously aren't paying attention to the actual technology being used and its current failures.

C3: Investing in Brazil solves for the impact. My opponent claims that oil drilling is enough to lower seepage, it doesn't matter who is doing the drilling.

2. ibid
Debate Round No. 2


I will first start by attacking my opponents points, then going on to defending my own.

I feel that Con has seriously misjudged Petrobras and it's potential, which I will elaborate on. But first it is important to point out that Con, on multiple occasions, agreed with the resolution throughout his debate. "This means that all of the impacts my opponent claim out of the Affirmative Case (AC) reference the amount of available oil can still be accessed through my advocacy." The only way to access said oil is by offshore drilling; not Petrobras drilling along our coasts, a notion that is complete lunacy, but us drilling along the coast. Again, he states "My opponent claims that oil drilling is enough to lower seepage, it doesn't matter who is doing the drilling." Is Con advocating for foreign companies to drill in OUR lands? That makes NO sense whatsoever. And again, it goes against Con's position on the resolution, helping me with this case. Do you really think we would make it illegal to drill in these areas, then let Petrobras come in and do it, then reap the rewards? The idea is ridiculous, but enough nitpicking. Time to move on to the big claims he made.

Con has seriously misjudged the value of Petrobras and the level of dependency we should throw at it. His claim is that they are a publicly owned company, and therefore we would:

A) Reap many economic benefits from them as "partners"
The serious problem that my opponent hasn't calculated is the nature of stocks and public companies. Right now, just by visiting the homepage of Petrobras, I can see that BRAZIL owns over 50% of the stocks [], meaning that they control the company politically and economically. Nothing happens without their say-so, and I doubt a country that is trying to compete with us economically and hasn't really had the best of standing with us in the past is going to let ANY amount of money through to us, let alone an amount that can match the figures from my studies. Take Hugo Chavez in Venezuela for example. He siphons so much money from the oil drilling companies and directs it towards other things he feels are more important. The same exact thing can happen with Brazil, only it doesn't have to be the wants of a dictator, but if they decide they need the money for a better education system, or a larger economic trade expanse in the world; after all, they are trying to be a top economic dog, as my opponent had stated. This isn't a cycle that investors will ever benefit from; this is a public company, and it's controlled by Brazil. Anyone thinking it's a good idea to dump money into a foreign nations hands, especially one that is trying to get a boost up economically, is quite clearly not thinking. Let's follow this simple layout of the situation to see logically why Con's "Advantage 1- Economics" falls and is invalid.

1. Petrobras is a public company
2. Public companies have stock
3. The largest shareholder of stock determines where the money is re-invested
4. Brazil is the largest shareholder of stock for Petrobras

It is quite clear that although Petrobras is a public company, it is NOT an acceptable alternative for my proposed offshore drilling, nor is it even a feasible one at this point, seeing as we could very well end up broke by "hoping" that Petrobras pays off, which is what we would have to rely on; hope.

B) Establish international relations
My opponent claims that by buying shares of Petrobras, we would somehow be creating economic ties to all the countries that deal with Petrobras. There are a couple problems with this actually being a big deal. For starters, even though my opponent has given no actual names of what specific countries Petrobras deals with, it is more than likely that the United States of America, the leading economy of the world, has economic ties to most, if not all, of those countries already.
Also, like I stated before, Petrobras is basically owned by Brazil, so if Brazil decides to direct the funds from Petrobras into something internal, these countries would not benefit. I would actually like to know how Con suggests that we would be forming such crucial relations with foreign countries by investing in an oil company. It sounds too outlandish, and because of Petrobras's unstable situation, not a feasible suggestion either.

Both of my opponents points have failed due to the overlooked fact of Petrobras being controlled by Brazil.

Let the reader not be misguided by Con in trying to refute my points, for I will clarify them to the extent which they will be non-refutable and solid.

1. Cuts reliance on foreign oil
In 2010, the United States imported a rough total of 3,344,485,000 barrels of crude oil ( The highest amount per month that Petrobras has EVER exported was March 2010, reaching 22.73 million barrels of oil ( Let's just say every month they stay consistent with this number. At the end of the year, you are looking at 272 million barrels of oil. According to the evidence, Petrobras cannot even supply us with a third of the oil we need, and that's if we were buying up ALL of their oil they exported. Let's not forget those 27 other countries Con mentioned. This leads the United States to HAVE to buy oil from other sources, bringing us all back to my point of reliance on foreign oil. I would like Con to tell all of us how this would not be so, seeing as all the numbers point to it being impossible to simply invest in Pestrobras for all our oil.

2. Increase in Economic Activity
My opponent asks for a time frame of how long it would take to set up oil drilling. It would take about 6 years for the oil to hit the market (, but that doesn't mean it isn't a solution. It takes time to properly survey a site and construct the drills, keeping everything well maintained and making sure there are NO errors, so as to avoid an environmental problem. To make it simple, we need oil to survive as a country, and the sooner we start exploring these options, the better. Think of it this way. Should a long term cigarette smoker continue to smoke cigarette's simply because it would take a long time for them to actually quit and notice a difference in their health? Absolutely not.

3. Oil drilling lowers pressure of natural oil seepage
Con has not properly refuted this, simply stating that Petrobras is, yet again, the answer and savior. It's complete lunacy to say we can't drill off our shores, but Petrobras can. It goes against my resolution, making Con's refutations invalid, and leaving my point standing.

In conclusion, Con seems to thin it's a good idea to invest TAX PAYERS DOLLARS into a foreign controlled business that I have proved isn't reliable. I have properly refuted it by citing the Petrobras site and sharing that Brazil owns Petrobras through stocks, while Con hasn't managed to give a proper refutation to all my points, which are all standing.

It's like putting all your eggs in one basket, and the basket has holes in it. Big holes.

Back to Con for the last post of Round 3


I. Resolution

Extend the burden I established for myself in round 2. My opponent does not make any arguments against this in the debate, therefore if I provide a better alternative to the United States legalizing offshore oil drilling, I win.

My opponent argues that my case affirms the resolution by allowing Petrobras to drill in American waters. This interpretation, however, is misguided. Here is why: Extend my argument under B. 1. "The Bush Administration's five-year plan (2007-2012) to open the outer continental shelf to oil exploration included new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico[.]" You see, by accepting the Negative advocacy we are not legalizing offshore oil drilling, but leasing the rights to the water. To conceptualize this let's look at the lend-lease act of WWII. We were able to lend tanks to the European forces to be used in a war without actually declaring war. In the same way we can allow Petrobras to drill in American waters without legalizing the activity for American companies.

II. Case

I'm going to first start off with the extremely rude overview he made to my case and then precede to line-by-line his refutations of my arguments before extending my own.

A. Opponent's refutations

1. Overview

Let's take a few of my opponent's statements and put them into perspective:

"The only way to access said oil is by offshore drilling; not Petrobras drilling along our coasts, a notion that is complete lunacy, but us drilling along the coast."

Instead of responding to my advocacy my opponent would rather insult me by claiming that my ideas are "complete lunacy[.]" However, in hopes to having a respectful debate, I will simply state that my opponent has no warrant and move on.

"Is Con advocating for foreign companies to drill in OUR lands? That makes NO sense whatsoever."

Again my opponent chooses to offend me instead of actually formulating answers to my arguments. But enough of this nonsense, to answer my opponent's question: Yes, that is precisely what I am advocating. Got a problem? Then refute it.

"Do you really think we would make it illegal to drill in these areas, then let Petrobras come in and do it, then reap the rewards? The idea is ridiculous"

Once again my opponent asserts that my ideas are "ridiculous" instead of properly refuting them. Yes, I do think that this is what we would do, hence the Bush administration's 5-year plan that allows for precisely this action to occur.

Now that I am thoroughly appalled by my opponent's behaviour, let's move on to the more specific arguments he made in the round.
2. .

A) Let's start off with my opponent blatantly lying to mischaracterize my evidence. Brazil owns 50.7% of the common shares, sure, but owns NONE of the preferred shares. If we look back at the evidence provided (1) we can clearly see that Brazil only owns 28.9% of the capital stock, or the total shares when combining common and preferred. Without this clear misrepresentation of the facts, my opponent's arguments for unilateral control of the company cease to matter, because they simply are not true. But even if my opponent wants to press that they have more shares than anybody else, let's look back at America's capital stock, which equates to 24.5% of the company when totalled. This is only 5.4% less than Brazil. It is quite evident that America will have a roughly equal voice in company actions. There is absolutely no risk of money being siphoned for other uses. But let's just pretend these lies are true, just for a moment. According to a CRS report (2) on pages 5 and 6, the new Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff "has also pledged to hold down—or even cut—government spending, and pursue reform of what many analysts consider to be an overly burdensome tax system." There is no reason why the government would need to suddenly dilute funds from Petrobras (which it doesn't have the power to do regardless) for increased State spending if the President is CUTTING spending.

B) All of the arguments about internal spending were addressed in the above paragraph. I will cover the specification of countries when I extend my own arguments. All that leaves is my opponent's assertion that my idea "sounds too outlandish, and because of Petrobras's unstable situation, not a feasible suggestion either." Before I answer this, I have a question for my opponent: Is it suddenly cool to be rude and insult your opponent's arguments instead of responding to them? As for the actual argument being made, there is no warrant as to why Petrobras is unstable, I'll expand upon this when I extend my case.

B. Extensions

B) Timing: My opponent fails to realize the exponential being undertaken by Petrobras. No company has ever had a larger IPO, and Petrobras put the money they earned towards a $224 billion exploration plan for the 2010-2014 period. This places Petrobras in position to be the world's largest oil exporter. Also consider that due to the exploration plan, in April 2011 Petrobras made new oil discoveries that will allow them to produce 174 more rigs than previously expected, beginning in September of this year. The time frame for the advantages coming out of the negative advocacy are clear and immediate, as opposed to my opponent's "6 years." I'll be kind and correct him as his evidence states it will happen in 2015. But alas, my opponent is once again misrepresenting evidence. Even if oil hits the market in 4 years, his evidence also claims than it will fail to alter prices until 2030, 19 years. This means he is not actually accessing the economic impacts he claims for a much longer period of time. Even so, this estimate was made in 2008, under the assumption that the oil ban is lifted. As it hasn't been repealed, we must assume that the 3 years between it's publishing and now have seen no progress and the targeted date 2015 will not be met. Petrobras is developing now, in the status quo.

C) Economic Advantages: We already have money invested in Petrobras, and own 24.5% of the company. While I recommend continuing investment at current rates, we could also leave our investments stagnant and still reap the benefits claimed in my impacts, without spending another penny. My opponent has no possible way to match this return on investment. Remember that Petrobras already has the necessary equipment to drill for oil, while American companies do not, as the activity is currently illegal. You see, my opponent claims that we could "end up broke" if we invest in Petrobras, but the truth is we will have to spend much more on uncertain American development in addition to the extreme start-up costs required.

It's quite clear that the most important factor in the debate is the economic, so I'll kick international relations.


1. My opponent argues that Petrobras would not be able to supply America with all of its oil needs. My advocacy gives Petrobras access to American reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. This means my advocacy has access to ALL of the oil the AC does in addition to the oil coming from other rigs. Even if other countries are buying oil from Petrobras, there is an exponentially larger supply coming from this company than we would see from American reserves alone. Cross-apply my time frame argument, we aren't seeing his impacts until 2030 at the soonest. Mine start in September. Also extend his Sara Banaszak evidence that states we will only need more oil and gas for "20 years[.]" My opponent's impacts happens when they are no longer needed.

2. Again, we start seeing returns from my advocacy in September, while his promises returns in 19 years, after start-up costs. Only my advocacy has immediate and significant impacts.

3. Again my opponent insults me by calling my argument "complete lunacy." I make it clear throughout the debate why my advocacy with Petrobras negates the resolution because leases do not require the legalization of drilling. Even if we aren't drilling in American water, my opponent doesn't state why the location of drilling is vital to decrease seepage.
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent Mestari for accepting this debate and making it a wonderful experience. Debating always gives me much joy, and I feel increases everyone's knowledge within certain topics. Con gave a wonderful challenge and I enjoyed reading his responses. Although I didn't mean to offend in previous rounds, I will apologize for approaching his claims with incivility; it was not my intent nor my purpose to disrespect you. Being that this is the last round, I will give my final refutations without new sources or facts, and then my final focus on the debate.

Contention A)
Like I said before, it's the majority shareholder that makes the decisions with a public company, and Con even proved that the government of Brazil owns more than everyone else in all Petrobras stocks, amounting to roughly 29%. It's not like a committee or something; the government of Brazil owns the most, so the government of Brazil calls the shots. Con states that the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, is cutting spending and reforming the tax system; this by no means guarantees that funds won't be siphoned for other uses, seeing as the GOB (government of Brazil) owns enough stocks to do so. Just because she is cutting spending, doesn't mean she won't take some of these funds for domestic use. In fact, it more than likely increases the chances of this happening. Just think, how easy would it be for the GOB to fill the monetary holes they are creating with some of Petrobras's funds. It's completely realistic and more than likely going to happen.

My opponent cites the lend-lease act, back in WWII. I would like everyone to be aware how that act went down. We traded armored vehicles to Britain and other allies in exchange for all their western hemisphere military bases and territories. If Con is suggesting something similar to the lend-lease act, then we would give Brazil the right to drill in our waters, but we would desire something of theirs as well. I doubt Brazil is in a position to hand over some of their prized territories. Britain only did it because they were in desperate need of those tanks. Brazil is not in desperate need of our waters.

Con wishes for me to actually refute his argument of Petrobras drilling in our lands, and I will. It's a known fact the the United States has strong international relations, and yes it makes sense that foreign nations would be drilling, but they would only be allowed to drill in international waters, 12 miles past our coasts. Even if we did give Petrobras a lease for drilling in our waters, it would make no difference as if we were to drill in our waters. My opponent argues that Petrobras has a time frame advantage over how long it would take us to drill, but what exactly is that time frame advantage? His only advantages that he claims are that Petrobras made new oil discoveries that allows them to produce more oil rigs. I'm glad for Petrobras, but that doesn't give them an advantage over anything. First off, all companies expand and plan on contingencies for their corporations. Petrobras is no different, yet my opponent believe that they are the solution. He cites that beginning in September, Petrobras will be able to start going forward with these 174 new rigs. How does this AT ALL affect the United States and OUR waters? These effects are not going to make an immediate impact on America, and they don't correlate with the debate topic, making it invalid. The timeframe argument is a standstill, seeing as Con has provided no source or otherwise stating how long it would take Petrobras to set up oil drilling in our waters. I, however, have given that number, and it is logical that Petrobras would take the same amount of time, if not LONGER, to establish drilling platforms and whatnot in our waters. My opponent tries to make them out to be a super oil company, but they can't build a drill and survey an area any faster than anyone else. In fact, a lot of dormant oil rigs off our coasts would be much faster to reopen rather then build new ones. Petrobras doesn't have this option, though we do, giving us an edge with the time frame argument. My opponent claims if he comes up with a better alternative, than he has negated the resolution properly. How is what he claims a better alternative?
Let me lay it out simply.

-PETROBRAS- (Alternative)
1. Time frame for setup: around 6-10 years
2. Monetary Gain: Not reliable, too many risk factors
3. Oil Seeps: Only handled in Gulf, where Con suggests Petrobras will drill

- U.S.- (Original)
1. Time frame for setup: >6 years (pre-established oil rigs)
2. Monetary Gain: All profit for our companies and our economy as I have already proven.
3. Oil Seeps: All will be alleviated along coasts and in Gulf

The time frame for Petrobras would take longer because they are located in Brazil, creating a distance; not a huge impact, but still time wasted. Also, Petrobras doesn't have the advantage of pre-established oil rigs, which is why the time frame argument goes to the U.S., or me.

The monetary gain argument I have already proved to be false on Con's part, through the stocks and other mediums that will have to be accounted, such as the portion of funds Petrobras as a company will take. Legalizing our shores for the United States to drill in, however, creates a stimulas in oil activity, and will be pure profit for us.

Oil seepage. Con cited the Bush administration plan, saying that it will allow Petrobras to drill in the GULF of mexico, not our coasts. Legalizing all offshore drilling will allow for the United States to alleviate oil seepage where it matters; along the east and west coast, the most populated areas.

I will leave it to the reader to decide the better option, the alternative (according to Con) or the original idea, but at this point I think it is very clear that there is NO advantage to allowing Petrobras to drill in our waters or increase investment with them, while there is nothing but advantages for opening up our shores for us to drill in.

On a side note, my opponent misinterpreted the Sara Banaszak fact; it's not that we will only need oil and gas for 20 more years, but she was saying that at the very least, if we started trying to wean off oil and go to an alternative energy source, it would take 20 years. That fact was meant to show the reader that oil is here to stay.

In this debate, the reader must analyze, according to Con, whether or not his alternative is more suitable and beneficial to us then the United States doing the drilling. Not only have I proven Petrobras to be an unstable company to depend on for our oil needs, but I have given multiple reasons, all of which are standing at this point, as to why opening our shores for drilling is a good idea for our Country. There is no way that the United States would sit by and allow Petrobras to do the drilling for us while we have it illegal for us to do it. It is a very far-fetched idea and not a more suitable alternative. Therefore, I win the debate not just becase Con didn't offer a more suitable and beneficial alternative, but because all my points were not properly refuted, and they are as follows.

1. Cuts reliance on foreign oil
2. Increase in Economic Activity
3. Oil drilling lowers pressure of natural oil seepage

I thank everyone for taking the time to read this, and urge a Pro vote. I also want to especially thank Mestari for being the Contender and making this debate a learning experience.

Thank You.


I thank my opponent for the intellectual challenge he has provided in this debate.


1. Petrobras is not a majority shareholder. His argument about unilateral control would be right, as I said, IF, this were true. Having the most shares in not having a majority of them. The very definition of majority specifies having more than half of something. Here's the reality of the matter, public companies are, in fact, "like a committee or something[.]" There still have to be board meetings to make decisions based on share-holder votes. The United States' voice is almost as large as Brazil's. However, to be clear, this share-distribution sub-debate is based on the current distribution in the status quo. As I stated from the beginning of the round, my advocacy is that the United States would be "continuing to invest in Petrobras[.]" This means that we would soon have more shares than Brazil as we have been investing more rapidly into the company. If my opponent's argument is true, then that just goes to show all the great things we can do when we are in charge. Sadly enough it's not true as unless you own 50% of the company, you cannot make unilateral decisions.

2. As for Brazil diluting funds, first of all they can't, because they don't have unilateral control over the company. The evidence clearly shows that Brazil is dedicated to cutting spending, but my opponent argues that this increases the chances of funds being siphoned to fill monetary holes. This however, is not true. By cutting spending you are reducing monetary holes by reducing the necessity for money in the first place. My opponent has failed to show how spending less makes a country poorer, thus increasing the need to steal money from a public company. But alas, Brazil cannot take this action regardless.

3. Let me clarify the purpose of referencing the lend-lease act. I wasn't claiming that the Bush Plan would function in the mold of the lend-lease act, but rather cited the act as a way to conceptualize how leases function legally. Not all leases demand military bases in return. Most of them simply require payment, which the British could not afford during WWII, but Brazil can now. The last time I checked, car leases don't require military bases in exchange either, but I could be wrong. The point is: The United States Federal Government can lease out water rights to Petrobras and allow them to drill without actually legalizing drilling, just as the United States leased out tanks for use in war without declaring war.

4. My opponent states, "Con wishes for me to actually refute his argument of Petrobras drilling in our lands, and I will." I would like to make it very clear that my opponent is making new arguments in his final speech due to his refusal to make them sooner. When he set the rules for this debate he stated that in round 4 there would be "[n]o new arguments[.]" Based on the rules he established, he is not allowed to make these arguments and they should be disregarded. Nonetheless the individual claims will be addressed as I compare advantages between our advocacies.

Comparative Analysis


A. Petrobras

1. Petrobras is already established and successful. They have rigs around the world and work internationally. If they weren't competent then their reputation would not be as impeccable as it is.
2. The impacts are being seen immediately, with a $224 billion exploration plan continuing throughout 2014 and 174 new rigs being built in September. My opponent claims that it will take 6-10 years for Petrobras to set-up. However, Petrobras already has rigs, in the status quo. If my opponent is claiming that this is the time it would require Petrobras to set up in American waters then I would like to point out that it is arbitrary and there is no warrant to back up the claim presented. Furthermore, Petrobras already has many of the supplies needed for rigs while American companies would not only have to be formed, but also hire faculty and charter waters to build these rigs. Petrobras is able to establish itself in American waters faster.
3. While we can invest more money and still spend less than we would on American Companies, no additional investing is required to see economic benefits. Petrobras is a public company, we own 24.5% of the shares so we get 24.5% of the profit.

B. The United States
1. There is no established history of American success with offshore oil-drilling provided by my opponent. There is no evidence in the round explaining why American company's will be able to utilize the oil reserves in American waters any better than Petrobras. My opponent states in his last speech that there are "pre-established oil rigs" but provides no reason to believe that they are U.S. owned, safe, or even operable. They may be so far out-of-date that we must spend even more time removing them and building new ones. There is no reason to believe the US companies are a safe choice.
2. Time frame of 19 years. My opponent tries to say in his last speech that it is simply greater than 6 years, but fails to explain why this number is preferable to the time frame I've warranted. His own evidence states that the impacts will not be seen until 2030, which is 19 years from now. Even if we accept his time frame, I still reach the impacts much sooner.
3. American companies have to be formed, staff must be hired, materials must be bought. This process will cost a lot more money that what we must spend on Petrobras at this point (not a penny). The start-up costs are simply too much of a detriment.

I'm winning that Petrobras is more economical because:
1. The time frame is much sooner.
2. The impacts include everything American companies can do, as well as international prospects.
3. There is less of an investment needed, if any at all.
4. There is no reason why American Companies are more efficient in any aspect than Petrobras.



The most important argument in the round is whether or not Petrobras is more economical for the United States than American companies, however I will also address the environmental concerns my opponent has. First of all, he still doesn't explain why the exact area of oil drilling is vital to lower seepage. Does the seepage stay in one geographical location, or do ocean currents disperse it? This is important to know, as if it is dispersed then location is irrelevant. My opponent, however, fails to provide us with this essential piece of information. In addition, there is no reason why Petrobras will not be able to lease water rights on the coasts. Thus, the oil seepage point garners offense for neither side of the debate.

A. Petrobras

I provided evidence within my opening argument about the Capuava Refinery's environmentally-friendly zero effluent disposal statistics. This is the first refinery ever to do this, showing why Petrobras is on the edge of innovation when if comes to the environment.

B. The United States

The Hahn-Passell study's claim that technology will prevent oil spills is an argument in favor of American companies. However, I would like refer you back to my argument made against it in round 2 that is not responded to: "Also we can look at how the deep-water horizon spill effected the economy negatively, and this happened ONE MONTH before the study was released. The authors obviously aren't paying attention to the actual technology being used and its current failures."

If there is no reason to prefer either option economically, I have advantages environmentally that American companies cannot match.

Closing Note

I would like to make it explicitly clear that my opponent messaged me soon after I posted my last argument and thoroughly apologized for his rude tactics. I have accepted this apology and hope that this round leaves no ill-thoughts in the minds of the judges of my opponent as a debater. Parts of this speech were written before I saw his message, and if I by chance failed to change any syntax of my language or references to him being rude, I apologize.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Eh, it is just a variation in our views on new arguments then. From my perspective, you were refuting an argument made in round 2, which needed to be done in round 3 not 4. In that scenario, the argument would already have reached a "dead end" on the flow. But others may see this differently, it's more of a stylistic thing.
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
Round 4: Final refutations, conclusions (No new arguments or facts!)

Just to clarify, I wasn't making a new argument in the last round. It was a refutation. A FINAL refutation. I didn't bring in new facts, or a completely different contention that Con didn't know about.
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
Haha I always got it to like 400ish and was like "That's pretty solid."
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
0 Characters remaining. I consider that an achievement. Yes, I do want a cookie, thank you very much.
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
I was at half an hour haha
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
6 seconds left!
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
Nevermind haha
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
I will message it to you
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Can I have a link to the Georgetown study you cited?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by spenserririe 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: I dont believe that the con did a sufficient job of negating the resolution. Rather that refuting the pro, he thought it was enough to come up with a counterplan, leaving the pro beniefits standing. Con simply found another way to achieve those beniefits, but in no way proved that his way was better.
Vote Placed by 000ike 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: On conduct: I found CON's accusations to be slightly fallacious. In the debate,CON's dismissal of PRO's ideas are shown in an equally rude yet less obvious way.This occurs in every debate,where one contender disrespects the ideas of his opponent.It would be unfair for PRO to lose points, even though this rudeness came out in the form of obvious words. Conduct would be lost when one contender insults his opponent. Insulting the opponents ideas is a part of every debate, however subtle or obvious