Table Of Contents
- History of Petroleum and Natural Gas in North Dakota
- First Oil Boom in North Dakota
- Bakken Oil Boom
- Is There Fracking in North Dakota?
- How Many People Have Died in North Dakota Oil Fields?
- Labor Department Cites Oil Company After 3 Workers Severely Injured in North Dakota Well Explosion
- Fatal Work Injuries in North Dakota
- Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our North Dakota Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawyers
History of Petroleum and Natural Gas in North Dakota
Beginning in 1910, several small oil wells were drilled in North Dakota. These wells produced little or no oil because they were drilled in the wrong place or not drilled deep enough.
The first major discovery of petroleum in North Dakota was in 1951 in a wheat field in Williams County. This first oil-producing well was named Clarence Iverson No. 1, after the owner of the wheat field. From 1951 to 1980, Clarence Iverson No. 1 produced over 585,000 barrels of oil.
First Oil Boom in North Dakota
An oil boom took place in North Dakota during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, the boom peaked at 154,000 barrels per day at an average price of over $35 per barrel. Unfortunately, the “boom” turned “bust” in 1985, when world oil prices plummeted to $10 per barrel. To make matters worse, only 3 out of every 10 North Dakota wells were producing. As a result, North Dakota oil companies closed their offices and laid off workers.
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Bakken Oil Boom
North Dakota experienced a second oil boom starting in 2008 with the discovery of the Bakken formation in the western part of the state. The Bakken Formation constitutes one of the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in America and is part of the larger Williston Basin, which has approximately 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The Bakken oil boom has made North Dakota the second leading oil-producing state behind Texas.
Is There Fracking in North Dakota?
As of May 2017, there were at least 11,681 wells that were hydraulically fractured in the state of North Dakota, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. In 2015, there were 10,619 active wells stimulated with hydraulic fracturing, and production from hydraulically fractured wells accounted for more than 95% of oil and gas production in the state.
How Many People Have Died in North Dakota Oil Fields?
At least 74 people have died in the Bakken oil fields since 2006. On average, a worker dies every 6 weeks in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. Major oil companies often evade accountability when accidents happen by hiring independent contractors.
Labor Department Cites Oil Company After 3 Workers Severely Injured in North Dakota Well Explosion
Federal workplace safety investigators ruled in May 2022 that an oil company’s failure to take adequate safety precautions contributed to a drilling site explosion in North Dakota on November 4, 2021, that permanently disabled 1 worker and left 2 others with severe injuries.
An OSHA investigation determined that KLX Energy Services carelessly transported explosive materials and failed to take required precautions to protect workers and the public during blasting operations. The workers were injured by shrapnel when a perforating gun detonated as workers assembled a blasting cap on it to send down a well. The workers were using perforating guns to fracture the well bore.
“These individuals suffered serious injuries simply for doing their job,” said OSHA Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck. “KLX Wireline LLC’s willful failure to follow federal standards is unacceptable and a violation of their employees’ rights to a safe workplace.”
Fatal Work Injuries in North Dakota
Fatal work injuries totaled 34 in 2021 for North Dakota, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Transportation incidents resulted in 10 fatal work injuries, and contact with objects or equipment accounted for 8 deaths.
These 2 categories accounted for 53% of all fatal workplace injuries in North Dakota. Exposure to harmful substances or environments was the 3rd-most frequent fatal work event with 6 deaths. Falls, slips, or trips resulted in 5 work-related deaths.
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Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our North Dakota 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 North Dakota and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident in North Dakota, 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.