• Featured Oilfield News

    Judge Rejects Reconsideration Of Decision Regarding Physical Evaluation In Case Of Injured Oil Worker

    A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied a motion to reconsider a magistrate judge's decision denying a request to compel an injured oil worker to submit to a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), the ability to perform work activities.

    Judge Rejects Reconsideration Of Decision Regarding Physical Evaluation In Case Of Injured Oil WorkerA judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied a motion to reconsider a magistrate judge's decision denying a request to compel an injured oil worker to submit to a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), the ability to perform work activities.

    In his May 29 ruling, U.S. District Judge Martin Heldman said an FCE would add nothing new in information to an independent medical exam (IME) already performed on oil worker Glen Guidry.

    Guidry is suing Noble Drilling Services Inc., a London-owned offshore oil drilling contractor that operates oil rig platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Guidry, a field service representative for VAM USA LLC, a supplier of connective devices for oil platforms and a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co., was injured in an accident on an oil rig platform on May 11, 2015, while inspecting a joint casing (large diameter pipe) in preparation to lower it to the ocean floor, court filings said.

    He slipped on mud and sustained injuries to his back, ligaments, muscles and nervous system.


    Alliance Energy Services Ordered To Pay Attorneys' Fees In Overtime Pay Case

    Alliance Energy Services was recently ordered to pay attorneys' fees and costs related to a settlement agreement over uncompensated work time.

    Alliance Energy Services was recently ordered to pay attorneys fees and costs related to a settlement agreement over uncompensated work timeChief U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, in her June 1 decision, ordered Alliance to pay $66,475 for attorney's fees and $1,665.15 in other costs to the plaintiffs who had filed a legal action under the Fair Labor Standards Act in which an oil field worker and “other similarly situated employees” alleged they were owed money for unpaid work time for attending mandatory pre-shift meetings.

    The court filing said the defendant, Alliance, admitted a liability of over $43,000 in unpaid overtime and that a a settlement conference resulted in a settlement in January with the parties later submitting a motion for reasonable attorneys' fees. 

    “The court in such action shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, allow a reasonable attorneys' fee to be paid by the defendant and costs of the action,” the court order said.


    Colorado-Extraction Oil and Gas Operated Windsor-Area Drilling Site Where Accident Injured Three Workers

    Colorado oilfield workers injured.jpgExtraction Oil and Gas is the operator of an active drilling site that was interrupted Thursday night by an accident that injured three workers.

    Brian Cain, spokesman for Extraction, said a pressurized hose broke loose, injuring three workers. One worker had his leg broken, Cain said, but all three workers were treated and released from the hospital.

    Windsor police Sgt. Brian Smith said police received the call about 7 p.m. regarding a small explosion — which involved no fire — related to a liquid nitrogen line at a site near Weld County Roads 62 and 15. It was an active site, with 56 employees on scene.

    "The event was immediately contained and professionally handled," Cain said, adding that working is proceeding at the site.


    U.S. Drillers Add Oil Rigs For Third Week In A Row

    U.S. energy companies added oil rigs for a third week in a row even though crude prices have declined about 8 percent over the past three weeks.

    Baker Huges Rig CountDrillers added one oil rig in the week to June 8, bringing the total count to 862, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. RIG-OL-USA-BHI

    That was the ninth time drillers added rigs in the past 10 weeks.

    The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 741 rigs were active as energy companies have been ramping up production in tandem with OPEC’s efforts to cut global output in a bid to take advantage of rising prices.

    U.S. crude futures were above $65 a barrel on Friday after earlier this week falling to their lowest level since April 10, as U.S. output surges and falling demand in China.

    Looking ahead, crude futures were trading around $65 for the balance of 2018 and $63 for calendar 2019.


    New Mexico Lawmakers Look To Community Colleges To Train Workers During Oil Boom

    Industrial workforce needs are becoming a main focus of southeast New Mexican community colleges, as a recent spike in regional extraction developments caused an influx of workers in need of training.

    10-week safety training course for oilfield workersJohn Gratton, president of New Mexico State University Carlsbad spoke before the Legislative Finance Committee during a Wednesday meeting at NMSU-C that his school works closely with industry leaders to identify programs to meet a company’s specifications.

    He said the school is looking to offer a 10-week safety training course for oilfield workers.

    Gratton said safety is paramount to maintaining the industry’s momentum in Permian Basin, and NMSU-C is here to help.

    “You’d be shocked to see some of the injuries. It’s horrible. Safety in that industry is essential,” he said. “When the industry comes to us, we say yes.”

    The administration has met with oil-producing companies such as Chevron, Concho and XTO, Gratton said, to discuss a potential gas-compression program for workers in the natural gas industry.


    Making Offshore Oil Rigs Safer With Robotics And Automation

    Automation of the oil and gas industry has been slow, but we seem to be standing on the brink of a revolution in this niche. All eyes are now turned to the first fully automated robot starting its work in the North Sea and heralding a major change.

    Robotics to make offshore drilling saferIt’s predicted that the robotics market will value over $134 billion in 2019 yet only a small fraction of it comes from the oil and gas industry. That’s a surprising fact and by no means in a good way as this industry has the potential to benefit immensely from the adoption of automation. The good news is that the situation seems to be changing, though very slowly. Now the first ever fully automated robot will be doing all the checks on a rig in the North Sea. The success of this project is vital for the future of the industry and the health of the planet.

    Why Does the Oil and Gas Industry Need Robotics and Automation Right Now?

    Accidents on offshore oil rigs cause billions of damage and affect the environment in tragic and irreversible ways. They also cost hundreds of human lives and that state isn’t likely to change as even with the stringent safety protocols a worker on an offshore oil rig is six times more likely to die on the job compared to an average worker on the continent.

    167 lives were tragically lost during the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988. 11 brave workers died during the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, which also caused immeasurable environmental damage to the Gulf of Mexico because that incident caused 4.9 million barrels of oil to spill into the ocean.


    Akita Drilling Buying U.S. Focused Xtreme Drilling In $209 Million Deal

    Akita Drilling Ltd. is buying U.S.-focused rival Xtreme Drilling Corp. in a $209-million cash-and-shares deal designed to gain greater access to the more active U.S. oil and gas exploration market.

    Akita Drilling To Buy Xtreme DrillingThe Calgary-based companies say the resulting medium-sized drilling firm will have a total of 44 rigs in major resource basins in Canada and the United States.

    Akita, which has been focused on drilling in Western and Northern Canada, announced in January it would make its initial entry into the U.S. market by moving a rig from Canada to Texas to take advantage of greater demand from oil and gas producers there.

    It now has two of its 28 rigs in the U.S. All 16 of Xtreme’s rigs are working south of the border.

    Xtreme shareholders are to receive 0.29 of an Akita non-voting share and 59 cents in cash for each share tendered, representing what Akita says is a 32 per cent premium over the 20-day volume weighted average price. Akita has agreed to assume $10 million of Xtreme’s debt.


    Pennsylvania House OKs Bill To Relax Rules For Shallow Gas, Oil Drilling

    A Republican bill to relax regulations on the shallow oil and gas drilling that has gone on in Pennsylvania for more than a century passed the state House Tuesday despite firm opposition from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

    Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg.The GOP-majority chamber voted 111-84 for a proposal that covers permits, rules for wells, spills and enforcement for drilling that does not include the much deeper wells tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation.

    Backers say the bill is needed because "conventional" well operators can't afford to meet tougher standards designed for Marcellus Shale production.

    "Our producers are not opposed to regulations, which is why we have this bill in front of us," said Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, who voted for it. "But we want fair regulations, not the same regulations for the big Marcellus guys."

    Wolf's legislative affairs secretary, Will Danowski, said in a letter to lawmakers sent Tuesday that the administration was strongly opposed, warning the bill would harm the environment and lessen landowner protections.


    Texas Shale Country Dangles 100% Pay Raises As Labor Market Runs Dry

    Jerry Morales, the mayor of Midland, Texas, and a local restaurateur, is being whipsawed by the latest Permian basin shale-oil boom.

    Texas oil Shale market Looking For WorkersIt’s fueling the region and starving it at the same time. Sales-tax revenue is hitting a record high, allowing the city to get around to fixing busted roads. But the crazy-low 2.1% unemployment rate is a bear. As the proprietor of Mulberry Cafe and Gerardo’s Casita, Morales is working hard to retain cooks. As a Republican first elected in 2014, he oversees a government payroll 200 employees short of what it needs to fully function.

    “This economy is on fire,” he said from a back table at the cafe the other day, watching as the lunchtime crowd lined up for the Asian Zing Salad and Big Mo’s Toaster hamburger.

    Fire, of course, can be dangerous. In the country’s busiest oil patch, where the rig count has climbed by nearly one third in the past year, drillers, service providers and trucking companies have been poaching in all corners, recruiting everyone from police officers to grocery clerks. So many bus drivers with the Ector County Independent School District in nearby Odessa quit for the shale fields that kids were sometimes late to class. The George W. Bush Childhood Home, a museum in Midland dedicated to the 43rd U.S. president, is smarting from a volunteer shortage.


    Jurong Shipyard Fined $230k Over Fatal Accident

    Jurong Shipyard has been fined $230,000 over a fatal accident in 2015 which saw a worker struck by and caught between a gantry crane and a manifold.

    MOM cited systemic failures at Jurong Shipyard 'that made the workplace dangerous'. ST FILE PHOTO.The shipyard was convicted of failing to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety of workers at its 5 Jalan Samulun site, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday .

    The victim, Mr Stephen Yeo Chye Mong, was employed as a safety coordinator and patrol man by the shipyard's subcontractor Foo Ngan Marine.

    On March 20, 2015, he was conducting safety checks near the manifolds along the track of a gantry crane, which was in operation. A manifold refers to a pipe that has several openings.

    At the time, he was lifting pieces of rolled-up welding cables. Shortly after, a co-worker found Mr Yeo lying on the ground between a utility water supply manifold and the gantry crane track.

    He was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries on the same day.

    Investigations by MOM found that there were systemic failures in the way Jurong Shipyard conducted lifting operations using the gantry crane.

    "These failures made the workplace dangerous, and also resulted in the accident," MOM said in its statement.


    The New Tech That Terrifies OPEC

    U.S. shale oil drillers are boosting efficiency with giant pads and walking rigs, lowering prices to a point that could hurt exporters like Saudi Arabia.

    A fracking operation in Midland Texas. The Permian Basin recently passed 3.1 million barrels a day of outputWhat doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

    Two years ago, it looked like Saudi Arabia was winning its fight against the U.S. shale oil industry by furiously pumping crude to drive down prices. Some drillers went bust and many more flirted with bankruptcy while oil drilling in places like West Texas and North Dakota collapsed.

    The Saudi effort backfired. Instead of killing shale it spurred a wave of innovation that transformed drilling in the U.S. into a highly efficient industrial process, dramatically lowering costs and boosting output. During the next oil bust, it will be the Saudis who have to worry.

    “High prices tend to create sloppiness in this industry because people focus only on growth,” says Encana Chief Executive Doug Suttles. “Downturns make you focus on cost because it’s the only thing you can control—the oil price is out of your hands.”

    Meanwhile, something remarkable is happening. The U.S., where production was once thought to have peaked nearly 50 years ago, will become the largest oil producer on the planet by next year.


    28 Oil Workers Trapped, 100 Rescued In ConOil Fire Accident

    Investigations have revealed that 28 oil workers were still trapped on the ConOil platform in Koluama 1 community of Southern Ijaw in Bayelsa State, after it was engulfed by fire on Saturday morning.

    28 Oil Workers Trapped, 100 Rescued In ConOil Fire AccidentNo less than 100 oil workers were confirmed rescued yesterday.

    The fire, which was confirmed by the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta , codenamed Operation Delta Safe, started around 5am on Saturday and has blew up the oil platform and razed down the residential area of oil workers.

    The rescued workers have been flown to Port Harcourt on Rivers. While the others are still trapped in their residence with fire fighters and locals battling to put off the fire and save the helipad. LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday that the fire fighters, who were flown into the community on Saturday from Port Harcourt, Rivers State , were assisted by indigenes of Koluama 1 and other fishing communities in the area.

    A source,  who was part of the indigenes who is assisting in the rescue and evacuation operation, told LEADERSHIP  that though the oilfield is operated by ConOil,  the oil rig is owned by Depthwize Nigeria, an oil services firm working at the oil block operated by Conoil Nigeria Limited .


    Bonuses Cut For Patterson UTI Execs After Fatal Rig Fire

    Patterson-UTI CEO Andy Hendricks got a $2.25 million bonus for 2017.

    Patterson UTI Exec Gets Bonus After Rigg Fire Kills 5It would have been higher, but all of the bonuses for top executives at the company were reduced because of a deadly fire at a Patterson-UTI oil and gas rig in Oklahoma in January. Five men died. Three were Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. employees.

    The company's six top executives asked the board of directors' compensation committee to waive any payout for the safety portion of their bonus calculation, according to a proxy filing last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the document, the Houston-based company had revised its system for determining executive compensation for 2017. The safety component was one of the changes.

    The "key performance indicator" for safety judges the executives on "maintenance of Patterson-UTI's leadership position in operating and safety standards."

    It's not clear how much higher Hendricks' bonus would have been without the fatal fire. The maximum bonus Hendricks could have received was $2.5 million, according to the filing, $250,000 more than he got.


    Petroleum Conference Speakers Say Western North Dakota Still Sorely In Need Of Workers

    Workforce recruiting has moved to the forefront in western portions of the state, North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness said in his opening remarks for the 26th Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck on Tuesday.

    Cindy Sanford, with Job Service North Dakota in Williston, addresses the audience at the annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in the Bismarck Event Center on Tuesday about the state of energy related jobs in the Bakken oil patch of western North DakotaJob Service North Dakota is on the ground and trying to help out as it participated in four job fairs last week, said Cindy Sanford of the agency's Williston office. During one of the job fairs, a company hired 22 of 40 people who approached their recruiters.

    Sanford identified a need for 99 nurses at one health care company in western North Dakota. At the same time, a construction business is trying to get 500 workers in the next couple of weeks, she said.

    "Pipeline is huge this year — similar to drilling in 2011," Sanford said.

    Demand for CDL drivers and heavy equipment operators are contributing to an expected 9,382 job openings in the mining, driving, oil and hospitality industries statewide by 2019.

    "There's truly not a job that doesn't have an opening," Sanford said.

    "They're not just taking warm bodies like they were," said Daniel Sternberg, coordinator of McKenzie County Economic Development, of the oil businesses.


    Workers Back At Oil Well Where 5 Died

    Crews are back at work trying to coax oil from the Oklahoma well where five men died in a fiery rig explosion in January.

    Patterson Rig 219 ExplosionThe Oklahoma Corporation Commission confirmed last night that Red Mountain Energy has been fracking, or hydraulically fracturing, the Pryor Trust 0718 well near Quinton, Okla., about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. Attempts to reach Red Mountain executives last night were unsuccessful.

    The rig burned for eight hours after the explosion occurred while the crew was removing pipe from the hole Jan. 22. The workers' bodies were found in the rig's control room.

    The explosion was the deadliest oil field accident since at least 2010, when 11 men were killed in the BP PLC explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The damaged BP well was permanently plugged.

    The rig was owned by Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. Three of those who were killed worked for Patterson, which has a troubled safety record. Since 2008, when a U.S. Senate committee called the Houston company "one of the worst violators of workplace safety laws," at least 12 Patterson workers have been killed on the job.

    About a month after the Quinton explosion, another Patterson worker was seriously injured by falling pipe at another well in Oklahoma.