Bakken Pipeline: Increase in Oil Field Accidents?

Opposition to a proposed pipeline from Bakken oil fields to a distribution point in Illinois continues to grow, with more than 2,600 letters against the pipeline sent to the Iowa Utilities Board.

Opponents of the pipeline expressed concern that the multi-state pipeline could negatively impact the rights of landowners in Iowa and could create environmental hazards Iowa is unaccustomed to. The pipeline would transport as many as 570,000 barrels of oil per day out of Bakken fields.

For workers in the Bakken oil fields, the potential pipeline has two major impacts. First, it could be the guarantee that the current oil boom at Bakken will continue for years to come. Second, it could increase the likelihood of oil field accidents as companies pushed employees even harder to meet increased demand for Bakken oil.

Some groups concerned with safety at the Bakken oil fields suggest that the region is prone to accidental injury and death in part because of the high demand for the oil. Those groups suggest that oil companies are pushing workers too hard and demanding too much return, with long hours. There is some suggestion that companies are cutting corners in terms of safety as a way to increase production.

Additionally, many of the workers are young and less trained. Without years of experience working in oil fields, they might not recognize the signs of an impending problem with the well.

While delaying or stopping the construction of the Bakken pipeline will not necessarily reduce the number of oil field accidents, there is some hope that it might allow for better training of oil field workers and more safety.

In the meantime, for those injured or the loved ones of those killed in an oil field accident, we're here to help. Contact usto discuss your legal options after a Bakken oil field accident.