History of Oil in West Virginia
The West Virginia oil sector began by accident, as an outgrowth of the salt industry. In the early 19th century, petroleum and natural gas played no part in society, and though saltmakers often struck these products while drilling, they considered them a nuisance.
From these early beginnings, the oil industry in West Virginia grew to reach its peak production in 1900 of 16 million barrels. From there, the oil industry started to decline, as the production of natural gas began to grow.
From 1906 to 1917, West Virginia led the U.S. in gas production. Over the next 17 years, the state's output declined markedly, then increased again until about 1970.
Related Article: Oil Field Accident Lawsuit Update
Where is Oil Found in West Virginia?
The majority of recent oil production in West Virginia occurs in the northern part of the state. West Virginia has just 1 oil refinery, located on the Ohio River at Newell, at the northern tip of the panhandle.
How Much Oil Does West Virginia Produce?
Since 2010, West Virginia has increased its crude oil production by nearly 1000%, producing more than 19 million barrels in 2020 alone. Of the 32 U.S. states that currently have oil production, West Virginia is the 13th highest producer.
West Virginia Energy Profile Facts
- In 2020, West Virginia ranked 4th in the U.S. in total energy production, accounting for 5% of America's total.
- In 2021, West Virginia was the 2nd-largest coal producer in the U.S., accounting for 14% of the country's total coal production.
- West Virginia in 2021 had 12% of recoverable coal reserves at producing mines, the 3rd-largest reserve base in America.
- In 2021, coal-fired electric power plants accounted for more than 90% of the state's total electricity generation. Renewable energy resources contributed 5% and natural gas provided nearly 5%.
- In 2021, West Virginia was 4th in the U.S. in natural gas production. The state produced approximately 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 10x more than in 2010, nearly all of it derived from shale gas wells.
- West Virginians usually use approximately 50% of its state-generated electricity. As a result, West Virginia is a net supplier of electricity to the regional grid and ranks among the top states in interstate transfers of electricity.
Injuries and Death are on the Rise in the West Virginia Oil and Gas Industry
The Marcellus Shale natural gas boom has provided a much-needed boon to the economy of West Virginia. However, occupational injuries and deaths in this industry are also on the rise.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), at least 13 workers died in West Virginia’s oil and gas industry from 2008 to 2012.
The statistic is alarming because it’s more than double the number of workers who lost their lives during the previous 5-year period when only 5 oil and gas workers died, BLS said.
Related Article: Gas Field Worker Injury & Accident Lawsuit
Fatal Work Injuries in West Virginia 2021
In 2021, fatal workplace injuries totaled 36 in West Virginia, according to the BLS. Transportation accidents caused 15 work deaths, with roadway incidents accounting for 10 of these fatalities.
Contact with objects and equipment accounted for a dozen deaths, 9 of which involved being struck by an object or equipment. These 2 categories accounted for three-quarters of all fatal workplace injuries in West Virginia in 2021.
- Wisconsin Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawsuit
- Washington Oil Field Accident and Injury Litigation
- Virginia Oil Field Accident and Injury Lawyer
See all related personal injury and accident lawsuits our lawyers covered so far.
Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our West Virginia 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 West Virginia and throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an oilfield accident in West Virginia, 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.