Shale EnviroSafe Summit in San Antonio, TX - Dec. 2, 2014 - Press Release

The Shale EnviroSafe Summit will take place December 2nd at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Summit is a one-day event focused on environmental, health, safety and regulatory considerations for shale plays across the U.S. The event was designed to bring together like-minded EH&S professionals to network and discuss important industry issues in one concentrated, fast-moving day. The Shale EnviroSafe Summit will host six educational sessions, along with an introductory breakfast and a closing networking reception. Sessions include community interaction and engagement; transportation issues; safety in rural and residential areas; specialized emergency response; case studies; and managing short service employees. Each of the six sessions will feature experts from companies such as Shell, ConocoPhillips, Union Pacific Railroad, Marathon Oil, Hilcorp Energy, and more.

To register or view the latest updates on Shale EnviroSafe, visit

For information on attendance or sponsoring opportunities, please contact Marketing Manager Carey Buchholtz at 713.343.1878

Driving Safety Top Priority for Oil and Gas Industry - Op Ed

Hastings of TXOGA and Garcia of STEER
Hastings of TXOGA and Garcia of STEER

From Cuero to Carrizo Springs, advances in technology have led to an unprecedented leap in oil and natural gas production in South Texas. Oil and gas activity in the Eagle Ford has generated more than $61 billion in revenuein 2012 and 116,000 full-time jobs, according to research from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In Karnes County, employment in the mining sector, which is mostly oil and gas, jumped 260% and industry wages increased 320%. In Dimmit County, local sales tax revenues recently doubled, apparently thanks to increased oil and gas activity; this is a quadruple-digit increase over two years before.

Without a doubt, increased oil and gas production is turning once sleepy towns into bustling centers for commerce of all kinds. With this increase in commerce, comes an increase in road traffic. While the legislature is wisely considering ways to fund improvements and repairs for roads in South Texas and beyond, oil and gas companies across the board have taken meaningful and pro-active steps to encourage safety behind the wheel. Just as the oil and gas industry takes seriously its responsibility to maintain safe operations and job sites, the industry is committed to promoting safe driving.

Oil & Gas Industry Emphasizes Driving Safety

Beyond training and equipment, some companies have developed innovative incentive-based programs to help encourage safe driving practices that may include bonuses, raises, or prizes. The point of all of these programs is to establish, maintain and reinforce a focus on road safety for all oil and gas drivers.

Focus on driving safety isn’t a one-time occurrence. Oil and gas companies provide comprehensive and ongoing training for fleet drivers that incorporate both classroom instruction and practical hands-on training. Instructional programs are often followed by exams to certify that employees and contractors have met necessary standards. Some companies also conduct refresher driver training courses throughout the year and hold weekly safety meetings where they may discuss considerations for driving at night or in hazardous weather. Still others have instituted formal company-wide policies that prohibit cell phone use or texting while driving.

In addition to these courses and company policies, many Texas oil and gas operators utilize the cutting-edge technology to collect and process driver safety data from vehicles including speeding, swerving and hard brake incidents. And, as an added precaution, many also equip fleets with backup cameras, stability controls, anti-lock braking systems, trailer sway control and hands-free devices.

Road Safety Is A Collaborative Effort

Recognizing that keeping the roads safe must be a collaborative effort, the oil and natural gas industry worked closely with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to help develop and spread the word about TXDOT’s Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign. The public education initiative presents common-sense but critical reminders to drivers to always drive at safe speeds; wear seatbelts; pass other vehicles carefully; always stop at red lights and stop signs; and, avoid distractions such as texting or cell phone use while driving.

When it comes to road safety, every driver on Texas highways and byways has a role to play.

The Texas Oil & Gas Association is also a proud partner in Safe Hand Texas, a public safety initiative from Texas Mutual Insurance, which provides educational resources and safety reminders for commercial drivers. Both programs are helping raise awareness about ways we can increase safety on our roads by pulling together public and private entities in a positive and collaborative manner.

As oil and gas opportunities draw people into communities across South Texas, there is no doubt the additional activity will mean an increase in cars and trucks on the road. But we must remember that with this increased economic good fortune, comes increased responsibility – something we all share. The Texas oil and gas industry is committed to powering the state forward, working with statewide and community partners, and keeping safety as our collective priority number one.

By Deb Hastings, Texas Oil & Gas Association and Omar Garcia, South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable

About TXOGA Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) is a statewide trade association with approximately 5,000 members representing every facet of the Texas oil and gas industry including small independents and major producers. The membership of TXOGA represents over 90 percent of Texas’ crude oil and natural gas production, as well as refining capacity, and is responsible for the vast majority of the state’s pipelines. Founded in 1919, TXOGA is the oldest and largest group in the State representing petroleum interests and continues to serve as the only organization which embraces all segments of the industry.

About STEER The South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER) is the leading Eagle Ford Shale resource in the region and is the primary coordinator for communication and public advocacy surrounding the oil and natural gas industry in South Texas. With a focus on South Texas, STEER will serve as the bridge connecting the industry and legislature, academia and the communities throughout South Texas to ensure positive collaboration and communication surrounding the activities associated with the Eagle Ford Shale. For more information about STEER, visit

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Top Ten Characteristics of a Great Truck Driver

Oil Tanker on the Highway
Oil Tanker on the Highway

With a little training and practice, probably most people can manage to drive a tractor-trailer. However professional truck driving is more than just getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. Great truck drivers are much more than mere steering-wheel holders. In the Eagle Ford Shale play, driving a heavy vehicle with its cargo of costly supplies and equipment and keeping to a demanding schedule isn’t a job for an ordinary driver. Do you aspire to have not just a job, but a career, and a great one at that? Check out these characteristics of a great truck driver.

  1. RELIABLE. Great truckers do what they say they’re going to do, how and when they promise to do it. They know that employers and customers have deadlines and schedules that depend on the trucker’s timely performance. Great truckers aim to be not the problem, but the solution to shipping and cargo transport challenges.
  2. SELF-DEPENDENT. Office workers are just a door or floor away from a department of support personnel who can provide help or advice. However even team drivers are essentially working alone in that they are out on the road, away from “technical support.” Truck drivers have to be able to handle having sole responsibility for the truck and its cargo and make the right decision in an emergency They also have to be able to cope with being alone most of the workday, or work-night as is often the case. Great truck drivers keep their knowledge and skill current so that they can solve problems when and where they occur, whether they are mechanical difficulties, traffic tie-ups or cargo issues. They learn how to manage the personal aspects of their life so it goes smoothly whether they are home or on the road.
  3. COURTEOUS. While it’s true that truck drivers spend a lot of time alone, the great ones nevertheless have good “people skills.” They know how to interact with employers, other drivers, dock workers, customers and service staff such that everyone truckers come in contact with feel listened to and respected. Great truck drivers are courteous to clients, and treat the cargo with care.
  4. MECHANICAL SKILLS. Great truck drivers have basic knowledge of how a truck operates. They can perform repairs as necessary, such as changing a fuse or light bulb, and can do what’s needed to help ensure the truck meets compliance and other safety standards. This contributes to a safer working environment not only for the truckers themselves but for everyone else who is sharing the road along with them.
  5. STRESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS. Great truckers know how to manage stress. They take setbacks in stride and don’t let them ruin their day or their life. They’re sensitive to how a truck driving career can put pressure on their families as well as themselves.
  6. HONESTY. Great truck drivers don’t try to get away cheaply but rather give true value for the money that employers and customers spend with them. They don’t fudge on aspects of laws and regulations, either. Great drivers know that in taking shortcuts they are ultimately cheating themselves of the satisfaction of having done the job right, completely, legally and safely.
  7. ALERTNESS. Great truckers must be aware of many factors including the condition of the vehicle, the road and traffic. Driving challenges nearly all the senses, not just sight. Alert drivers who are attuned to all the input that they’re receiving will realize that a strange sound, vibration or even an odor is an early warning signal of developing trouble. They must be able to evaluate and assess their own condition and take a break when tiredness dictates that it would be more efficient, not to mention safer, to rest.
  8. FITNESS. That quality of awareness comes as part of an overall level of physical fitness. A fit driver is more able to work long hours and remain sharp. Truck drivers also simply need a certain level of physical strength in order to load and unload freight.
  9. EXCELLENT DRIVING RECORD. Great truck drivers have an excellent driving record. This gives the employer and customers confidence that the equipment and cargo is in good hands.  Great drivers are also cheaper to insure and keep costs of vehicle operation down. An excellent driving record shows that the driver not only has respect for others sharing the road, but also self-respect and professionalism.
  10. COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE. It almost goes without saying that a great truck driver has a CDL. To earn a commercial driver’s license, drivers take tests to demonstrate that they have the minimum knowledge and skill that the licensing state has determined is necessary to do the job. However great truck drivers go beyond the minimum. They stay current with developments in equipment, tools, business practices and regulations so their knowledge and skills are always sharp and up-to-date. This enables them to work with less stress and more satisfaction.

With a little effort and dedication, good truck drivers can become great truck drivers, and great drivers are what's needed in today's cargo transport industry.

Visit the Eagle Ford Jobs page to apply for open driving positions.

Personal Safety in the Eagle Ford Oilfield

The Eagle Ford Oilfield is a busy workplace. The work itself can be hazardous, involving expensive heavy machinery and tools, all of which merit your undivided attention. Regulations of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration and company policies are designed to protect worker health and safety. However, the most important guardian of your personal safety in the workplace is YOU.

Personal Safety Tips

Here are some simple steps for personal safety around commercial motor vehicles. They'll help you to avoid non-driving motor vehicle-related accidents.

  • As you approach the vehicle, take a look around. Make sure it's secure. Don’t get under, in front of or behind a truck or piece of heavy equipment if there’s any chance at all that it could move.
  • Be aware of the condition of the vehicle. Now would be a better time to notice a defect than when you’re miles down the road or in the middle of a critical operation.
  • If this is an unfamiliar vehicle for you, look around and identify the location of all the controls. Make sure that there are no loose objects that could hit you if you start or stop abruptly. Adjust the seat so that you can reach the controls easily.
  • Do a little personal inventory. Are you fit to operate a heavy truck or piece heavy equipment? If you’re too fatigued, hung over, distracted or preoccupied to perform safely, you’re putting yourself as well as others at risk.
  • Fasten your safety belt.

Get in the habit of using the Three-Point Stance to enter and exit a vehicle safely. Have at least three points of contact. Use both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand.

  1. As you approach the vehicle cab, eyeball the footholds. Dirt or grease could cause you to slip and fall.
  2. Enter the cab with one foot on the ground, one on the truck’s foothold and one hand on the handhold.
  3. Exit by climbing out backward, as if you were using a ladder. Never jump out of the cab.

Practice being safe around cargo. A load can shift while in transit, so use caution when you open cargo doors or release tiedowns. Open only one side of a van trailer and stand behind the other latched door. This will give you some protection from any falling cargo.

Use caution around forklifts. The only one who should be in or on a forklift is the forklift driver.

Don’t listen to music and don’t wear earbuds while you’re in the field. You should be listening for the sounds of moving and approaching equipment or instructions from team members and supervisors. Do follow your company policies regarding wearing hearing protection in the workplace.

Be Alert and Aware in the Workplace

A little extra awareness of yourself, your equipment and your environment can go a long way toward ensuring the personal safety of you and your coworkers around commercial motor vehicles.