A History of Indiana's Oil and Gas Fields
The oil and natural gas industry has been a fundamental part of Indiana’s economy since 1886, when a large quantity of gas was discovered near Eaton in Delaware County. This discovery kicked off Indiana's “gas boom” that lasted until 1910, by which time the gas had been used up by inefficient production methods.
The natural gas extracted during the gas boom played an important role in attracting manufacturing interests to locations throughout central Indiana such as Anderson, Muncie, Marion, Kokomo, Peru, and Gas City.
Commercial crude oil production in the Trenton Field began in 1889 and peak production was reached in 1904. By 1906, a sharp decline in production had begun. The Trenton Formation is an Ordovician age limestone with an average thickness of 100’. It was found at an average depth of 900’ in 21 counties in Indiana.
Peak Oil and Decline of Oil Production in Indiana
Indiana's oil production peaked in 1905, with over 11 million barrels pumped that year alone. Within the next 5 years, the once abundant oil flow had slowed to a trickle. However, by then entirely new industries had moved into Indiana, and the decline of the oil and gas sector did not have a major negative impact.
The abundance of cheap energy eventually led to Indiana becoming one of the leading industrial states in America. The economy of Northern Indiana continued to thrive until the Great Depression. A total of more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 105 million barrels of oil are estimated to have been extracted from Trenton Field.
How Many Oil Wells are There in Indiana?
As of May 2017, there were at least 7,283 active oil and gas wells in Indiana, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Of these, 255 wells (3.5%) were hydraulically fractured.
Indiana and Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, was first used in the Illinois Basin in the 1950's to increase production from oil wells in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. The practice has been widely used in Indiana and elsewhere ever since.
The Devonian-Mississippian New Albany Shale contains natural gas in the Illinois Basin, which encompasses Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. The New Albany site has been a source of gas production for over a century, but activity increased significantly in the early 2000s through the implementation of hydraulic fracturing. Most wells are 250 to 2000 feet deep, and the gas has a mixed biogenic and thermogenic origin.
What is the Leading Cause of Injury in the Oil and Gas Industry?
Explosions and Fires. Oil and gas workers constantly face the risk of fire and explosion due to the potential ignition of flammable gases and vapors. Flammable gases such as hydrogen sulfide can be released from wells, trucks, production equipment, or surface equipment such as tanks and shale shakers.
Which Industry has the Highest Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries?
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting experience the highest death rate per 100,000 workers, according to the National Safety Council. Transportation and warehousing experience the highest injury and illness rate involving days away from work per 10,000 workers.
Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Indiana 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 Indiana and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident in Indiana, 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.