The Cost of The Bakken Oil Rush

From run away freight trains to exploding improperly scented propane, the increased production of oil Bakken oil field region has not come without cost. According to the New York Times domestic oil production has surged by 50% over the last 5 years. Reaching as high as 7.5 million barrels per day in 2013.

This is a very rapid and vast expansion in what is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. According to the Wall Street Journal, between October 2014 and February 2015 there were 38 deaths nationally in the oil production industry, with 8 of those occurring in the Bakken oil formation.

According to estimates more than 9,000 injury claims were filed between 2009 and 2013, having to do with oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Billings Gazette reports that half of workplace related deaths in North Dakota, beginning in 2010, occurred in the oil fields.

This is especially concerning when you consider that burns sustained in an oil field are generally 3-4 times bigger than the average burn patient and can cost over $1 million dollars to treat. Then consider the fact that there are no burn centers in North Dakota, where a significant portion of the Bakken oil formation.

In spite of this increase in injuries and fatalities oil companies have begun instituting cost cutting measures, because of the drop in crude prices. These measures include hiring less experienced workers at lower pay and cutting back the amount of workers performing a given job. So despite a rapid and underdeveloped expansion, oil companies have started paying less to fewer, less qualified employees to guard their profit margins.

This is the perfect storm for work related injuries in an already dangerous profession. If you or someone you know has been affected by an injury at the Bakken formation please contact us. We would be happy to help.

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