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Haynesville Shale Drilling Accidents

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Drilling for natural gas, while essential, isn’t without risks. Accidents happen, sometimes with devastating consequences. This isn’t meant to incite fear but to underscore the importance of understanding the risks involved in the Haynesville Shale industry and the measures to mitigate them.

As an attorney with almost a decade of experience in this field, I can help you understand the legal implications of your workplace and ensure that any potential claims are handled responsibly.

In this article, I’ll explore the safety concerns associated with Haynesville Shale drilling operations and the damages you can recover.

Quick Summary

  • The Haynesville/Bossier Shale is a major natural gas reservoir in the Southern United States.
  • Gas drilling operations can lead to accidents resulting in injuries, fatalities, environmental damage, and other negative consequences.
  • Survival victims of drilling accidents may be eligible for various damages, including medical expenses and wrongful death.

What Is The Haynesville/Bossier Shale?

Haynesville ShaleThe Haynesville/Bossier Shale is a huge source of dry natural gas nestled in the heart of the Southern United States, the Haynesville Formation, including the Haynesville.

It is located in Northwest Louisiana and East Texas at a depth of 13,000 to 14,000 feet. It is a large shale deposit with abundant natural gas [1].

Chesapeake Energy commercialized the Haynesville Shale play in 2008. It is mainly found in specific counties in Texas, including Sabine, Shelby, and Panola. It is also present in certain parishes in Louisiana, including Caddo and De Soto.

Technology, procedures, and rising energy prices have made exploring the previously expensive Haynesville Shale viable. As a result, there has been a surge in activity and a marked increase in the value of leases for landowners.

This Bossier Shale Formation, comprising various bossier shale facies and bossier shales, extends from Northwest Louisiana to East Texas and Northeast Texas.

It is exploited using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques to extract the valuable resource trapped within its depths.

The history of oil and natural gas production in the Haynesville Shale can be traced back to the conventional wells of the Texas-Louisiana-Mississippi Salt Basin.

The number of active drilling rigs in the Haynesville shale area of northern Louisiana and Texas Railroad Commission District 6 has sharply declined since the beginning of the year, despite it being the main focus of drilling activity.

However, the rise in natural gas prices from 2002 to 2008 saw a surge in drilling activity, leading to a boom in gas production in various counties in the area.

This region, known as the Haynesville Shale play, has since become a significant player in the global energy market [2]. 

The number of active drilling rigs in the Haynesville shale area of northern Louisiana and Texas Railroad Commission District 6 has sharply declined since the beginning of the year, despite it being the main focus of drilling activity.

Related ArticleOil Rig Injury Accident Attorney

Gas Drilling Accident

Gas leaking from rigDespite advancements in technology and safety protocols, drilling operations are not immune to risks. Accidents, unfortunately, can and do happen, leading to injuries, fatalities, environmental damage, and more. 

From equipment failure to toxic chemical exposure, the potential dangers vary. Moreover, offshore drilling can lead to oil spills, impacting the environment and wildlife.

To reduce the risk of accidents related to gas drilling, all personnel involved in these activities must be properly trained in safety procedures before they begin work on a drilling site.

Furthermore, regular equipment inspections must ensure that all machinery is in working order and that any potential issues are addressed before they can cause an accident.

Related Article: The Major Offshore Oil Rig Disasters

Gas Drilling Risks

Gas drilling operations in the Haynesville Shale come with a unique set of risks that must be addressed in order to ensure the safety of all personnel involved.

Gas drilling operations carry several specific risks, including:

  • Environmental risks
  • Health risks
  • Safety risks
  • Economic risks

Apart from accidents, gas drilling operations also carry inherent risks that can profoundly impact the environment and public health. Air and water pollution, soil contamination, and damage to marine and land ecosystems are all potential outcomes of these operations. The release of diluted organic matter during drilling can harm communities and wildlife [3].

Gas Drilling Injuries

Person opening gas valve

The physical toll of gas drilling accidents can be severe, with injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions. Drilling workers are at risk of:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe bodily burns
  • Fractures
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Loss of limbs

Moreover, these injuries can have long-term implications, both physically and mentally. For instance, a traumatic brain injury can lead to cognitive, motor, and sensory impairments, while severe bodily burns can cause permanent damage to the skin and underlying tissue.

“Oil and gas extraction workers face a risk of dying on the job that is seven (7) times higher than the rate for all other industries in the United States.”-  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Read Also: Gas Field Worker Injury & Accident Lawsuit

Common Causes Of Drilling Accidents

Drilling rig

While the risks and injuries associated with gas drilling are numerous, they often stem from a few common causes. Gas drilling risks can be broken down into several categories.

  • Human error
  • Equipment failure 
  • Environmental conditions
  • Toxic chemical exposure

Laws Applicable To Drilling Rig Accidents

When accidents occur, victims have legal recourse to seek compensation for their injuries. The laws governing drilling rig accidents include oil and gas regulations, workers’ compensation laws, and personal injury laws. 

Understanding these laws is essential in navigating the legal landscape following a drilling accident. Whether it’s filing for workers’ compensation or pursuing a personal injury claim, knowing your rights and legal options can make a significant difference in your pursuit of justice and compensation.

What Is Oil And Gas Law?

Man writing a gas law in a notebookOil and gas law is a field of law that covers the legal aspects of exploration, production, transport, and sale of oil and gas. It includes regulations concerning ownership rights, environmental protection, and safety standards.

The laws governing oil and gas operations vary from country to country as well as from state to state. Companies operating in multiple jurisdictions must be aware of all applicable laws and adhere to them.

In Louisiana, Haynesville Shale drilling activities are covered by the following laws and regulations:

  • The Louisiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): responsible for assessing workplace safety requirements to ensure employee safety on oil rigs. Companies must adhere to OSHA standards or risk fines and penalties [4].
  • The Louisiana Mineral Code: provides regulations on workers’ health and safety during oil and gas extraction. This includes requirements for drillers to have extensive experience and training to operate a drilling rig safely.
  • The Louisiana Oil & Gas Act: provides guidance on reporting and responding to incidents during drilling operations, such as fires, explosions, and blowouts.
  • The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): permits must be filed with the state Department of Environmental Quality in case of a gas or oil leak or spill. This includes reporting any potentially hazardous substances that may have been released during an accident [5].

Related Article: Appalachian Basin Oil Rig Accident

What Damages Can You Recover?

Medical stethoscope next to a calculatorDamages that you can recover in case of an accident or injury due to an oil and gas drilling operation can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, emotional distress, and punitive damages.

It is important to understand that the laws vary from state to state, and it is best to consult a qualified attorney with experience in this field. An experienced lawyer can help guide you through the process of filing a claim and recovering any damages you may be entitled to.

Drilling accidents can lead to lawsuits and other legal actions. Companies operating gas drilling operations may be liable for damages resulting from accidents or environmental harm. They may also face fines and penalties from regulatory agencies if they are found to violate laws and regulations. 

When it comes to Haynesville Shale drilling operations, there are important considerations for workers, residents, and companies alike if they want to recover damages:

  • Workers who suffer injuries while on the job are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Residents affected by drilling activities in the Haynesville Shale region may have the right to pursue legal action to obtain compensation for damages or demand that companies take corrective measures.
  • Companies involved in Haynesville Shale drilling operations should have adequate insurance coverage that covers potential risks such as accidents and spills.

This can help protect them from financial losses due to legal action or damages caused by an accident or spill. Additionally, having the right insurance coverage can help ensure that any legal action taken against the company is covered.

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How Deep Is The Haynesville Shale?

The Haynesville shale is 10,500 and 13,000 feet deep. This depth makes the extraction process complex and challenging, emphasizing the need for advanced drilling techniques and technologies. 

Is There Oil In The Haynesville Shale?

Yes, there is oil in the Haynesville shale. The sandstones in the region have been productive of oil and gas, adding another layer of value to this important geological formation. So yes, there is oil in the Haynesville Shale.

Get A Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Haynesville-Bossier Shale Accident Lawyers Today

If you or someone you know has experienced a drilling accident in the Haynesville-Bossier Shale, our team of experienced accident lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is available to provide assistance.

We offer a free lawsuit evaluation to help you understand the strength of your case, determine if there is a valid legal claim, and inform you about the potential financial compensation you may be entitled to. Our team is committed to supporting you through the legal process with expertise and empathy.

Schedule a free consultation with Schmidt and Clark lawyers today.



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