Low Oil Prices Heighten Injury Risk In Bakken

Many people know the Bakken Formation has emerged in the last ten years as one of the most productive oil and natural gas resources in the United States. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the region has become the second leading oil-producing area in our country. Rapidly changing and increasingly complex technologies, which include horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have contributed significantly to the increased production. Of course, construction accident risk increases along with soaring yields, coupled with the dangers inherent with these technologies.

However, did you know that, despite a recent downturn in the industry, fatalities increased in the last eighteen months? According to The Wall Street Journal, this increase likely stems from "cost-cutting pressure on oil-field services companies, whose employees do much of the work at drilling sites." Ironically, the recent dip in oil prices and subsequent reductions in output have prompted additional risk for workers.Experts argue that, "In order to survive the downturn, producers are forced to make tough decisions that may contribute to unsafe conditions in an industry known for 12-hour work shifts, rampant turnover and long stretches without time off." So, while some may believe the recent slow down would reduce personal injury, both physically and emotionally, the inverse has been true.

Indeed, although safety measures, such as those advocated by OSHA, may have been part of industry best practices, staffing reductions, pay cuts, and less experienced contractors have added to the hazards throughout the industry, according to the WSJ. And things are not likely to change soon, for Inside Energy reports that "many oil companies are in dire financial straits going into 2016."

Odegaard Miller Law PLLC offers personal and individualized attention for each of our clients. We are knowledgeable of the dangers associated with the oil field industry and, especially, the Bakken oil and gas fields. In fact, we have significant experience with oil field accidents. As a result, we commit to fighting for your rights in the face of negligence. Contact us for a free case evaluation.