Is There Oil and Gas in Georgia?
No natural oil or gas reserves have been discovered to date in Georgia, and exploration for conventional fossil fuels stopped in the 1970s. However, in 2018, due to renewed interest in shale gas exploration in the northern part of the state, Georgia established an oil and gas board to review and issue permits related to drilling and hydraulic fracking.
Where Does Georgia's Natural Gas Come From?
Despite being close to the Appalachian coal fields, Georgia must rely on obtaining its natural gas supplies mainly from other states via pipeline. Most of Georgia's oil and natural gas comes through the Elba Island LNG Terminal on the Savannah River via a pipeline from Alabama.
Georgia also sources its natural gas from onshore wells, primarily in Texas and Louisiana. The state also gets natural gas from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. After passing through to federally-regulated companies, the gas is transferred into Atlanta Gas Light's distribution system. Once there, the gas is delivered to businesses and individual consumers.
Fracking in Georgia
Oil and gas companies began buying up leases to explore Georgia's shale plays in the 2000s. Most exploration in the state remains focused on the Conasauga shale field, which contains approximately 625 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Georgia Offshore Drilling
The first lease sale in the Southeast Georgia Embayment off the coast of Georgia and Florida occurred in 1978. Oil companies drilled 7 wells, none of which produced any crude.
When Joe Biden became President in January 2021, he issued an executive order halting new oil and gas leases across federal lands and waters; however, a federal judge in Louisiana reversed the order. The U.S. Government then auctioned off approximately 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, and companies bid on the right to drill in nearly 2 million offshore acres. Then in January 2022, a federal judge ruled that experts had underestimated the effects on climate and that drilling could not continue.
Occupational Fatalities During the 2003-2013 Oil & Gas Boom
From 2003 to 2013, the U.S. oil and gas industry went through a period of unprecedented growth, doubling the size of its workforce and increasing the number of drilling operation by more than 70%. During this period, the number of work-related fatalities in the oil and gas industry increased 27.6%, with a total of 1,189 deaths. Two-thirds of these fatalities were attributed to transportation incidents and contact with objects/equipment, while over half of persons fatally injured were employed by companies that service wells (615 [51.7%]).
The 1,189 oil and gas extraction industry deaths from 2003 to 2013 resulted in an average of 108 deaths per year, and an annual average occupational fatality rate of 25 deaths per 100,000 workers. The highest fatality rate occurred in 2006 (32.4 deaths per 100,000 workers) with 125 deaths.
Oil Rig Work: The Highest Risk of Injury
Oil rig workers spend their days in highly dangerous conditions; in fact, this is easily among the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Employees in the gas and oil industry are about 7 times more likely to be killed on the job compared to the average worker, according to the Washington Post.
Despite these statistics, most people are not aware of the extent to which these workers place themselves in grave danger on a regular basis. On an oil rig, hazards come in many forms, and threats can arise at a moment's notice, placing workers in a life-and-death situation in the blink of an eye.
What's more, oil rig workers often find little support from their superiors, who often decline to report on-site injuries to avoid greater regulatory pressure. Many oil rig workers know they could be reprimanded or even fired for complaining about on-the-job hazards. As a result, unsafe conditions can persist until a major casualty takes place.
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OSHA and the Oil & Gas Industry
Believe it or not, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have exclusive regulatory or enforcement authority over oil rigs and production platforms. The agency cannot enforce workplace safety regulations for working conditions that are regulated by a separate agency.
However, OSHA does cover specific industry standards for well drilling and servicing operations. This includes activities including site excavation, trenching and leveling. Exposure to dangers that can lead to severe injuries is part of OSHA's General Duty Clause which is applicable to all industries.
Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Georgia Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, have experience dealing with the rights of American oilfield workers, and we are one of the only firms willing to handle oilfield workplace accidents in Georgia and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident in Georgia, 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.