Texas Oil Spills and Plant Explosions

Written by greg on May 5, 2012

Texans are likely more concerned with oil spills than other areas of the country because of our proximity to pristine waters and the fact that oil production is one of the leading industries in the state. Statistics, oil spill attorneys and opinions on the topic abound. When there is a particularly damaging oil spill such as the recent BP Gulf oil spill – then the hand-wringing and finger-pointing tends to reach a frenzied level – and all aspects of oil drilling and collection are scrutinized for a time – before things tend to return to their normal level of activity, etc.

Here are some statistics on the topic:

*From the early 1970s through the ’90s, offshore rigs and pipelines averaged about four spills per year of at least 50 barrels, according to the Minerals Management Service (MMS). One barrel is equal to 42 gallons. The average annual total surged to more than 17 from 2000 through 2009. From 2005 through 2009, spills averaged 22 a year.

*The company with the most spills from 2000 through 2009 is BP, which leased the well spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf since April 20, according to the data. The oil giant and its affiliated companies reported 23 spills of 50 barrels or more, not including the latest blowout. Oil firm Shell was next with 21 – again according to MMS spill reports.

*A similar trend of increasing leaks and fires occurred at a BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, before a fire and plant explosion killed 15 people in 2005. Some experts believe that paying closer attention to the smaller incidents might have prevented the disaster, but BP’s pay system gave employees no incentive to do so.

Because oil spills and the problems it incites are such an important topic to Texans – we shall revisit it in later entries.

Greg Baumgartner is a plant explosion attorney and the founder of the Baumgartner law firm, which is dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek civil justice. If you would like to speak with a plant fire attorney call the Baumgartner firm.

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