Deepwater Oil Fields Pose Unique Dangers to Offshore Workers

As the demand for oil increases, so does the need for offshore oil drilling. In the United States, the western Gulf of Mexico is the only area where oil companies are allowed to drill. Deepwater oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, which are more than 1,000 feet below water, have plenty of oil. However, the dangers for offshore workers on these drilling rigs are substantial.

Offshore oil drilling presents unique challenges, as oil is extricated from sandstone formations located five miles down in the ocean, which has to be shipped 150 miles to land. Some veteran offshore oil drillers remember the days when drilling two miles down into the ocean was considered a huge feat.

The industry’s first offshore well was drilled in 1947 near the Louisiana coast in water that was not much deeper than a swimming pool. Last year alone, 130 deepwater projects produced oil, according to Minerals Management Service. Chevron believes that by 2015, deepwater wells will account for one-quarter of offshore oil production versus 9 percent today.

Nearly one-third of the world’s deepwater rigs are active in the Gulf of Mexico and many of these rigs focus on the Lower Tertiary, which is an ancient formation that spans from Texas to Louisiana. This area is located far offshore and is believed to hold up to 2.8 billion barrels of hydrocarbons.

Even though the potential for oil is great in deepwater, offshore workers are faced with dangers that could cause serious injuries and death. Drilling rig workers have to battle hurricanes, toxic chemicals and strong currents that tug at the drill pipe. To drill in offshore oil fields, heavy equipment is needed, which also poses safety hazards to offshore workers.

Offshore oil drilling comes at a cost and frequently that cost is severe injuries suffered by workers. For example, offshore workers on oil rigs are often the victims of serious accidents, such as falls, chemical exposure, explosions and fires.

Your Legal Rights

If you have been injured while working on an offshore rig, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Accidents on offshore oil rigs are sometimes caused by negligence and you can hold the vessel owner responsible. Contact the experienced offshore injury attorneys at our law firm for a free and confidential consultation. We will review your case to determine who was at fault for your injuries and the amount of compensation you deserve.