The people who work at Permian Basin oilfields, residents in nearby communities, and drivers on Permian Basin roads may all be at risk of suffering harm in truck accidents, fires, explosions, and other oilfield accidents. When this happens, they need a law firm that can stand up for their rights and help them recover the financial compensation they need to move forward. That is the goal of our oilfield accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin.
Do you work in the Permian Basin? Have you been injured? Take this opportunity to get a free consultation with a skilled oilfield injury lawyer at Arnold & Itkin. Call (888) 493-1629 today!
Top Permian Basin Oil Producers
In February 2018, oil titan Pioneer Natural Resources sold all of their assets to focus their efforts in the Permian Basin—including divesting 70,000 acres of highly-proﬁtable land in the Eagle Ford Shale region. On the same day, Halcon Resources announced that they were paying $381 million for 22,000 acres in the Delaware Basin (a component of the Permian Basin). In 2020, Pioneer acquired Parsley Energy for $7.6 billion, bringing its total Permian Basin footprint to nearly 1 million acres.
ConocoPhillips purchased Concho Resources, one of the best-positioned, largest independent producers in the Permian Basin, for $13.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, making the Permian Basin a cornerstone of ConocoPhillips’ global strategy.
That’s only the beginning—since 2010, oil production in the Permian Basin has increased an average of 15.6% per year. The share of U.S. oil coming from the Permian Basin has also increased. In April 2021, the Permian Basin accounted for 40.4% of U.S. oil production, up from 18.1% in 2013. The Permian Basin accounts for more than 70% of all oil production in Texas and nearly 90% of all oil production in New Mexico.
While major oilfields like the Bakken and Eagle Ford regions saw rig counts fall below 50 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Permian Basin never fell below 100 rigs and bounced back to 231 rigs in May 2021. This bounce back arrives just as Permian Basin commercial production reaches its 100th birthday, and it shows no sign that it will be a short-term phenomenon. It's here to stay.
The World’s Top-Producing Oilfield
The Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia may be larger, but in October 2020, the Permian Basin surpassed Ghawar in daily production, making the Permian Basin the top-producing oil field in the world. The effects of the Permian Basin may be felt for decades to come, for good or ill. One obvious benefit of this is economic growth: towns and cities in the Permian Basin have a population of over half a million people, and their hotels, restaurants, and highways are packed with oil workers like never before. However, economic growth is a double-edged sword—economic development often leads to the sort of “profit-frenzy” that creates unsafe drilling practices. The huge production levels also mean more oil has to be transported from the area, which increases the number of tractor-trailers on the roads in the Permian Basin and increases the risk for Permian Basin drivers.
Types of Permian Basin Accidents
The Permian Basin has seen many types of accidents since drilling began more than 100 years ago. Some of the most common include fires and explosions, equipment malfunction injuries, rig collapses, electrocution, and gas poisoning. These injuries could be prevented with proper training and equipment inspections, but unfortunately many Permian Basin operators don’t properly train their employees or inspect their equipment. This can be seen when you consider recent accidents, injuries, and losses of life. From 2015 to 2018, there have been 238 fatalities in the Permian Basin. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 0.6 recordable accidents per 100 full-time oilfield workers in 2019, but experts believe national statistics may undercount accidents, and this number is likely low.
Trucking Accidents: An Unintended Consequence of Increased Production
Along with the oil boom in the Permian Basin, there has been a significant uptick in the number of trucking accidents on the roads in the Permian Basin. Since many of the counties that the Permian Basin is near are rural and small, they have a network of roads that weren't designed to handle the increased traffic to and from the area. As oil production has increased, so has the already heavy 18-wheeler traffic as the oil is transported from the Permian Basin. Oil tankers, gravel trucks, and other large commercial vehicles dominate the small roads surrounding the Permian Basin, making them more dangerous not only for oilfield workers, but also for residents in the cities and towns within the Permian Basin.
In 2019, there were 256 traffic fatalities in the Permian Basin, and in 2020, even with decreased production activity and road traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were still 195 traffic fatalities in the Permian Basin. Traffic accidents are sometimes so frequent that at one point in 2019 there were 9 deadly crashes in 5 days. In one case, four oilfield workers and a truck driver were killed in a Permian Basin crash.
The vehicles involved with oilfield work are heavy and dangerous. Their operation requires a skilled, trained, and attentive driver. However, companies are often relaxed with hiring standards, training, or overwork drivers, making them dangerously exhausted behind the wheel. Studies show a clear increase in accidents when oilfields increase activities—residents and workers shouldn't pay the steepest consequences from them.
We Remember the Burned & Maimed of North Dakota
From 2006 to 2012, North Dakota saw almost the same kind of economic boom West Texas is seeing right now. Oil companies rode into town, hiring hundreds of young men, offering them fulfilling careers with economic stability, great benefits, and high-action labor. For many of these men, the oilfields offered them what other industries couldn’t: a real career, the ability to buy a home, or a way to support a family.
For a few of them, though, dangerous drilling practices, old equipment, and outdated safety protocols sent them to the hospital—or worse, sent their families to identify them. Our Permian Basin accident lawyers won’t allow it to stand.
Arnold & Itkin celebrates the economic independence of Texas. We love seeing our fellow Texans become successful, but our Permian Basin attorneys refuse to allow the pursuit of oil fortunes to come at the expense of young men's lives. We’re watching the development of West Texas’ oilfields with cautious optimism. While we hope oil companies have learned their lesson from the shattered families they’ve left behind, we’re not confident they have—especially after having heard stories from past clients.
If your loved one was hurt or killed working in the oilfields in West Texas, share your story with our top-rated Permian Basin oilfield lawyers. We know oil companies, so we know what you’re up against. Call (888) 493-1629 for help.