Bakken Oil Field Safety Addressed By New Initiative

On March 7, an explosion at a well near Killdeer, North Dakota, focused new attention on Bakken oil field safety. In that incident, three oil tanks ignited. No one suffered an injury in the incident, and the investigation is ongoing. In another explosive incident, the ensuing fire at a gas and oil waste disposal facility near Alexander was so hot that firefighters had to stay back and simply watch as the fire burned itself out.

Reducing Vapor Pressures to Promote Safety

Now, a new safety initiative, if successful, may improve worker safety, and the safety of Bakken area citizens. In December 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission decided to require new oil conditioning standards designed to reduce vapor pressures in rail cars and holding tanks to 13.7 psi or less. The commission settled on the 13.7 psi because of a national standard of 14.7 psi and a 1 psi margin of error. On April 1, 2015, new standards went into effect. Many hope that these new standards will reduce oil fires in and around rail cars and oil tanks.

Divergent Views

Stripping more gases out of crude oil before shipment represents a key step in improving safety, according to some analysts. However, the North Dakota Petroleum Council and the American Petroleum Institute are among industry groups that maintain that Bakken crude is no more risky to transport than crude oil from other American oil fields.

Our firm works hard to assert the rights of those injured in the Bakken oil fields. For more information about our services, or to schedule a consultation if an injury occurs, please contact us.