Are Eagle Ford Oil Field Workers Safe?

In 2012, a UTSA study found the Eagle Ford Shale generated 116,000 full-time jobs, and provided an economic impact of $61 billion across a 20-county area in Texas.

It’s impossible to deny the significant role the Eagle Ford Shale has played in the state’s good economic fortune, but there has also been a downside to its’ development.

In a late February 2014 article, the Houston Chronicle reported on a spike in oilfield injuries and fatalities that have occurred since the beginning of the boom in 2007.

Fatalities and injuries are the highest that they’ve been in years. 65 oil and gas workers were killed on the job in 2012 alone in Texas. That’s up 50% over 2011 according to government statistics.

Eagle Ford Oilfield Worker Claims – 2008 - 2012

Below is a list of five Eagle Ford companies that have paid out claims to workers who missed work because they suffered injures or work-related illnesses:

The information represents claims filed between 2008 – 2012

  • Pioneer Energy Services Corp. (includes Pioneer Drilling) – 80 claims; average paid per claim - $27,764.38
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. – 66 claims; average paid per claim – $23,738.93
  • Murphy Oil Corp. – 65 claims; average paid per claim - $7,917.02
  • Clayton Williams Energy Inc. – 54 claims; average paid per claim - $10,272.65
  • Forest Oil Corp. – 40 claims; average paid per claim - $25,657.82

According to the UTSA study, in 2022, the Eagle Ford Shale will support 127,000 jobs. That figure represents sustainable, continued job growth for the region, but at what cost? Hopefully, the continued development of the play will not also be tied to an upward trend in injuries and fatalities among oilfield workers.

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