A Brief History of Oil Exploration in Arizona
Arizona became the 30th petroleum-producing state in the United States in October 1954, after Shell Oil Co. drilled a natural gas well in Apache County, on the Navajo Reservation.
That well began producing 3.6 barrels of oil a day, but it wasn’t long before competitors joined in. In 1958, the Humble Oil Co. drilled near Shell’s well, and by 1961, it was its own natural gas well.
By 2016, Arizona had 32 oil and natural gas wells. Over the past century, over 1,100 oil and gas exploration wells have been drilled in Arizona.
What is Arizona's Largest Oil Field?
Arizona isn’t the biggest oil producer in the United States, and what oil is produced there is on Navajo land.
Arizona’s largest oil field, the Dineh-bi-Keyah, also known as “the people’s field,” has produced approximately 20 million barrels of crude oil since the deposit was discovered in the 1960s, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Louisiana-based Capitol Operating Group took over the Dineh-bi-Keyah oil field in 2016. Since then, the operation has shifted from oil to helium drilling.
Related Article: Oil Field Accident & Injury Lawsuit Update
Arizona's Ill-Fated Oil Boom
Predictions of rich oil deposits in Arizona sparked a wave of exploration in the early 20th Century that produced gullible investors, but no real black gold.
An ill-fated venture in 1917 was the first in a series of speculative oil ventures that sprang up around Arizona at the beginning of the last century. However, the premature speculations of wealth were repeatedly stymied by a single hard fact: Arizona has almost no petroleum deposits.
“Even today, the statewide production of crude oil equals maybe the daily production from one typical Texas well,” said Kristine Uhlman, a Tucson-based consulting geologist.
Despite its history of bogus claims and impotent wells, the greed for oil riches was slow to recede in Arizona. Located between significant producers of California and Texas, Arizona seemed well-positioned for petroleum deposits, particularly since oil seeps were reported in the area in the late 1890s. However, Arizona’s first oil exploration wells, 2,000 feet deep in Chino Valley in 1905 and 1,400 feet deep near Safford in 1906, failed to strike any black gold.
How Much Oil Does Arizona Produce?
Arizona's only significant oil deposit, the Dineh-bi-Keyah field, has pumped 19 million barrels of crude since it was discovered in 1967. Production peaked at 35,000 barrels a month, and it currently produces 12,000 barrels a year.
Where Does Arizona Get its Gasoline?
Aside from the Dineh-bi-Keyah, Arizona has no oil refineries. Therefore, it must obtain its gasoline from California via the “West Line” and Texas via the “East Line”.
What is Crude Oil Production?
Crude oil production is the volume of crude oil that is produced from oil reservoirs during a given period of time. The amount of production is measured as volumes delivered from storage tanks to pipelines, trucks, or other modes of transport to refineries or terminals with adjustments for (1) net differences between opening and closing lease inventories, and (2) basic sediment and water. Data in thousand barrels are converted into British thermal units (Btu) using a fixed conversion factor of 5.8 million Btu per barrel.
What is Arizona's Crude Oil Production?
In 2017, crude oil production for Arizona was roughly 74 billion btu. Oil production in the state fell gradually from 19,546 billion btu in 1968 to 74 billion btu in 2017.
What to do if You Were Hurt in an Oil Field Accident in Arizona
Being injured on an oil field job is difficult for many reasons. First, you are forced to deal with your injuries. Second, if you are unable to work, the money you receive from worker’s compensation will not likely cover your monthly expenses. Third, you are forced to deal with a process that is unfamiliar and oftentimes unfair.
Steps to take following an Arizona Oil Field Accident include:
Notify Your Employer of Your Accident
After an Arizona oil field accident, you should immediately notify your supervisor about your injuries. Failure to report an accident may result in you losing your job and could affect your ability to recover workers' compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
Once you have notified your employer about your accident, you need to seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. Your employer is required to ensure you receive all necessary medical attention for an injury that takes place on the job.
Contact an Experienced Oil Field Accident Lawyer
It is important to remember that by this point, a formal investigation into your accident has already begun. In most cases, this begins when you report your injury. There may be multiple investigations, depending on the company you work for and the insurer who is covering the loss.
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Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Arizona Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP have experience dealing with the rights of Arizona oilfield workers, and we are one of the only firms willing to handle oilfield workplace accidents in Arizona and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident, you should contact our oil field accident lawyers immediately by using the form below or calling our law firm toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600 to schedule a free case review and legal options.
Clients may be able to recover fair compensation for medical expenses from an oil company in a lawsuit and a personal injury lawyer can help.