What Do We Expect From the Permian Basin in Upcoming Years?

The Permian Basin – the 75,000-square-mile, oil-rich area that stretches from West Texas to parts of eastern New Mexico – has experienced an explosion of growth in recent years, as oil production has skyrocketed.

This region, once quiet and remote, has made the U.S. the world’s largest oil producer, ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia. It currently pumps out about 4.2 million barrels of oil a day. The output is expected to nearly double to 8 million in just four years.

The growth in production has spurred a massive boom in population growth. From 2010 to 2018, the population increased by 26 percent. Midland, the region’s largest city, was one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2018, along with nearby Odessa.

A recent study by the Texas Demographic Center forecasts that the population of Midland County could increase by 570,000 by 2050. Homebuilders are struggling to keep up with the growth. A one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,500, rivaling those in Houston and Dallas. Traffic has increased as well. A trip that used to take 15 minutes now takes a half-hour in many cases.

Oil in the Permian Basin Compared to Other Areas and Countries

This production upswing can be attributed in large part to fracking, short for “hydraulic fracturing.” This is the process where water is injected at high pressure into fissures in rocks underground to unlock oil and natural gas deposits.

The United States leads the world in fracking, though other countries like China and Argentina are attempting to use the technique to jumpstart their own shale oil production.

China is trying to compete with U.S. output, but other countries have about 10-15 years to go until they can catch up. The U.S. leads because of better prices, a beneficial regulatory environment, infrastructure, expertise, and more access to property and mineral rights for producers.

Fracking is banned outright in Ireland, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. In Canada and Australia, tensions between environmental and business interests have kept the practice in check.

Companies Moving into the Area Rapidly to Get Resources

The world’s major oil companies have taken notice and plan to move in. ExxonMobil has announced plans to more than quadruple its Permian Basin output by 2024. It has the acreage to drill 6,500 wells in the area eventually. Chevron intends to triple its production by 2023.

Smaller and mid-size companies who led this shale revolution by developing the technology used in fracking are finding themselves squeezed out as Big Oil moves in.

The “Big Four” now own about 4.5 million acres in the Permian Basin. Shell hasn’t announced its plans, but is reportedly considering a multi-billion-dollar deal to purchase independent producer Endeavor Energy Resources. BP paid over $10 billion to mining company BHP Billiton in 2018 to gain a foothold in the region.

More Oil Rigs Will Lead to More Deaths

Drilling for oil is dangerous work, with a fatality rate nearly five times that of all U.S. industries combined. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 1,566 workers died from work-related injuries in the oil and gas industry and related fields between 2008 and 2017. That number matches troop deaths in Afghanistan during the same timeframe.

Since 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited extraction companies for more than 10,000 violations. Sixty-four percent of these were classified as “serious,” meaning they were likely to result in death or serious physical harm.

Unless safety improves dramatically, the death toll will continue to rise. Vehicle accidents represent one of the most prevalent workplace hazards in the oil industry — 4 of every 10 deaths on the job in the oil industry occurs in a highway vehicle incident — but fires and explosions, falls, ergonomic injuries and machinery hazards are common as well.

Increase in Traffic Fatalities with More Trucks on Road

All the new production and population moving into the Permian Basin region has meant heavier traffic and, consequently, more roadway fatalities. Nearly half of all traffic deaths in Texas occur in energy producing-areas like the Permian Basin. That region alone accounts for 11 percent of Texas traffic fatalities.

Excessive speed is a leading cause of these accidents, as is distracted driving. The number of heavy trucks in the area makes traffic accidents much more deadly. Big rigs and oil production vehicles weigh many times more than passenger cars. An accident is more likely to result in severe or fatal injuries when heavy vehicles are involved.

Common injuries caused by truck accidents include:

  • Head trauma and brain injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord damage, possibly leading to paralysis
  • Burns
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Deep cuts or lacerations
  • Internal organ damage

Oil field accidents can cause severe injuries, such as:

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Burns, including fire or chemical burns
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Spine and spinal cord injuries
  • Limb amputations
  • Damage to vision or hearing

Contact Tate Law Offices, P.C., for Help with Your Injury Case

If you have suffered an injury in a workplace or traffic accident in the Permian Basin region, please don’t hesitate to call Tate Law Offices, P.C. You may be entitled to compensation, which can reimburse you for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Damages for both oil field and large truck accidents can be significant, and the insurance companies are not eager to pay. You need a legal team on your side that knows how to hold the oil companies and their insurers accountable. We have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, with a 99% success rate.

We have an office in Odessa, and our accident attorneys are knowledgeable about Texas workplace and traffic laws. We are ready to investigate the circumstances of your oil field or truck accident and build a solid case for compensation.

We are here to support you and answer all your questions while you recover from your injuries. Call us today to schedule a free review of your case.