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Permian Basin Accidents

Standing Up for Workers Who've Been Hurt Working in the Permian Basin

Permian Basin Injury Attorneys

Helping Workers After Preventable Permian Basin Accidents & Injuries

Spanning an area that's 250 miles wide and 300 miles long, the Permian Basin is a large oilfield made up of multiple basins in West Texas. The Permian Basin, which stretches from near Lubbock to Odessa and runs from Colorado City all the way into New Mexico, has been a site of commercial oil production since 1921. Encompassing cities including El Paso, Midland, and Abilene, the Permian Basin is the single largest petroleum-producing basin in the United States, with daily production of 4.5 million barrels of oil. The Texas counties in the Permian Basin alone produced more than 3 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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 fire and explosion injuries, equipment malfunction injuries, rig collapse injuries, 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, such as tragic accident: Man crushed to death in Midland County Oilfield.

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.

Permian Basin Injury FAQ

How much oil is left in the Permian Basin?

Companies have been extracting oil and natural gas from the Permian Basin for over 100 years, bringing rise to the question of just how much is left. Since 1920, over 30 billion barrels of crude oil have been recovered. But with a 2018 discovery of new reserves in the Permian Basin, the United States Geological Survey estimates there are at least 46 billion barrels of oil and 280 trillion cubic feet of gas remaining.

Although the number of active rigs has decreased dramatically due to COVID-19, this number is quickly rising. Our Permian Basin injury lawyers believe that those crews who are still working and the new crews being brought back deserve protection and support in the event of an accident or injury.

Who Operates in the Permian Basin?

Covering 75,000 square miles, the Permian Basin is the second-largest oilfield in the world. No single company owns all this land. The 5 top-producing oil companies in the Permian Basin in 2020 were: Pioneer Natural Resources (107,649,132 barrels), Diamondback E&P (81,624,452 barrels), XTO Energy (64,419,198 barrels), COG Operating (63,184,150 barrels), and Parsley Energy Operations (49,864,918 barrels). The 5 top-producing gas companies in the Permian Basin in 2020 were: Cimarex Energy (210,594,099 cubic feet), Apache (202,067,095 cubic feet), Anadarko E&P (199,387,733 cubic feet), Chevron (161,136,611 cubic feet), and EOG Resources (127,219,543 cubic feet).

What should I do if I was injured while working in the Permian Basin?

You should seek medical treatment, inform your employer, and seek legal counsel. Permian Basin oilfield injuries can be catastrophic and change the entire course of your life. Even if it seems like your employer is trying to help, remember that you have the right to choose your own doctor and to seek benefits for your treatment and lost earnings. The right Permian Basin oilfield accident attorney can protect your interests so you can heal and provide for yourself and your family. Underpayments, claim denials, and unnecessary delays are all too common in Permian Basin injury cases. Our firm is here to guide you toward the best possible resolution—one that opens the door to a brighter, more stable future..

What rights do I have as a Permian Basin oilfield worker?

If you were working anywhere in the Permian Basin and were injured in a blowout, fall, fire, or other oilfield accident, you may be entitled to benefits to cover your medical treatment, ongoing care, lost earnings, and possibly much more. Your employer has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe work environment—even though oilfield work is inherently dangerous. Equipment should be properly maintained, safety protocols should be followed to the letter, and you should be given the right tools and training to do your job. When oil companies cut corners and put their workers’ safety at risk, our team at Arnold & Itkin stands ready to see justice served. We’re here to help you get the support and treatment it takes to rebuild and move on.

What if my loved one was killed while working in the Permian Basin?

If your loved one was killed while working in the oilfields of the Permian Basin, you need to contact an attorney. Our Permian Basin wrongful death lawyers have helped grieving families get the answers they deserve. While we can’t change what happened, we can fight to make sure your family gets justice from the people and companies who could have prevented your suffering but didn’t. No one should lose a loved one because a company placed profits over safety—we’re ready to remind any company of this fact.

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.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $8 Billion Top 3 Largest Jury Verdict in U.S. History Arnold & Itkin LLP tried a Risperdal case against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about one of the drug’s most damaging side effects: gynecomastia. Our skill, hard work, and dedication resulted in the third-largest jury verdict ever obtained ...
  • $357 Million Largest Workplace Accident Settlement in Texas history Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a massive nine-figure settlement against a transnational corporation for a workplace incident. The settlement set a Texas record for being the largest personal injury settlement in the state’s history.
  • $222 Million Record-Breaking Verdict for Widow Our firm won $222 million for a woman who lost her husband in an industrial accident caused by a faulty valve. We took the case to trial because the at-fault company refused to take responsibility. The jury saw through the corporate lies and double ...
  • $205 Million Confidential Settlement Obtained for Numerous Clients Arnold & Itkin reached a record $205,000,000 settlement on behalf of clients after several years of hard-fought litigation. The case settled just before trial was set to begin.
  • $171 Million One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History Arnold & Itkin worked over the course of several years to represent clients in a case that many other law firms turned down. In the end, we were able to obtain a record-setting confidential settlement of $171 million.
  • $117 Million Largest Single-Event Personal Injury Verdict in Louisiana History Arnold & Itkin represented a pregnant woman who experienced stomach pain and called Acadian Ambulance. The driver of the ambulance drove the ambulance into the back of a sugar cane truck causing the plaintiff's spine to be severed at T4 and for her ...
  • $116 Million Confidential Settlement Arnold & Itkin LLP negotiated a massive nine figure settlement on behalf of their clients after several years of hard fought litigation.
  • $110 Million Record Settlement Achieved for Victims of Defective Products Arnold & Itkin obtained a record settlement for individuals harmed by defective, dangerous products. The result exemplifies our commitment to clients and justice for those seriously injured by the conduct of others.
  • $105 Million Record Settlement for Dangerous Product Victims Arnold & Itkin’s legal team helped represent those harmed by dangerous products. We were successful in recovering a $105 million settlement.
  • $97 Million Massive Settlement Secured for Refinery Workers Arnold & Itkin is proud to share that after months of preparation for trial, our firm was able to secure a huge settlement for clients who were injured in a refinery fire. Find out more now.
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“I have eight brothers and sisters. Family means a lot to me. When Arnold & Itkin stepped up the way they did, and treated me the way they did, it felt like family.”
Christopher Workplace Explosion Victim

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