Safety First: Keeping Oil And Gas Workers Safe

Image source: 360factors.com

Image source: 360factors.com

The oil and gas industry is crucial to the nation’s economic and industrial progress. It has led to the rapid expansion of production and significant growth opportunities in business. With the demand for oil and gas increasing, as well as the discovery of recoverable reserves, continuing expansion is projected for the industry.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2003 to 2010, more than 823 workers in the extraction field suffered fatal accidents on the job. This rate is seven times higher than the number for all US industries.

Jobs in the oil and gas industry are fraught with safety hazards and adverse conditions that make the workers susceptible to injuries and fatalities arising from motor vehicle accidents, contact injuries, explosions and fires, falls, confined spaces, and chemical exposures.

To reduce or eliminate unfortunate incidents in the workplace due to these hazards, there are safety rules that should be enforced.

The first line of defense is the sound design of engineering controls. Anything hazardous in the equipment or processes should be removed or replaced. If this is not possible, the workers must be kept safe by isolating or enclosing the hazard.

Appropriate work practice and administrative controls should also be implemented, as the second line of defense. For instance, the use and communication of proper procedures, regular maintenance and inspection, work schedule and training, and good housekeeping, are all processes directed towards the maintenance of safety.

The last line of defense is the enforcement of wearing personal protective equipment while on the job.

Brian Alfaro is the founder and president of Primera Energy LLC, a previous awardee of the Eagle Ford Excellence for Safety Performance. Visit this blog for more discussions about the oil and gas industry.

Hydrofracking: Changing Economies

The oil and shale industry has been in decline these last few years, according to market experts. societal concerns on climate change and the potential effects shale gas extraction on the ecosystem have been turning off consumers. This has prompted oil and shale companies to seek alternative means of extracting shale.

One of these methods is hydrofracking, which is an improved form of fracking. The process of hydraulic fracking forces shale rocks to produce gas by injecting a certain area with high amounts of pressure. The process has had unexpected impacts to economies.

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Image Source: earthtimes.org

There are environmental concerns about the process. Technically speaking, hydrofracking does not emit harmful gas to the environment. Machinery can dig deep into the ground and extract the energy source directly. However, scientists are unsure whether this may weaken the rocks below and cause unforeseen effects. These alleged environmental effects are still to be fully studied but already have shifted the way economies are handling their natural gas perspective.

Hydrofracking is expected to support local economies and lessen reliance on foreign oil. This has political implications. This method of extraction means that each country could technically support itself in case of a global crisis. Government agencies are working closely with local oil and shale companies to ensure that no political affiliations are made in the manufacture or production of shale gas.

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Image Source: offthegridnews.com

Despite hydrofracking being a relatively new process in the oil and shale industry, these two implications are being heavily discussed by those involved in the market. Current forecasts are not clear and determinedly noncommittal.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the oil and shale industry by liking this Brian Alfaro’s Facebook page.

A Better View of Horizontal Drilling

People often think of drilling as going straight down through the ground. However, in oil extraction, there is a method more efficient than vertical drilling. Horizontal drilling is the process in which the well changes direction horizontally at a depth. The drilling will start with a vertical process first then turn horizontally at a certain entry point. This technique can reach and collect more energy with fewer wells. It is known to be the best strategy for drilling shale rocks.

Image source: rigzone.com

Image source: rigzone.com

Although this type of drilling has a more intricate process, it has been proven by geological research that it yields more benefits than the conventional one. Targets and reservoirs that cannot otherwise be reached through vertical drilling can be tapped through the horizontal method. It can reach natural oil deposits trapped in tight shale formations located more than a mile below the ground.

Another benefit of horizontal drilling is its ability to reach large areas with just a single drilling pad. When this directional drilling is combined with hydraulic fracturing, it can convert unproductive shale rocks into reservoir rocks. There are more benefits such as: installing underground facilities, sealing out-of-control wells, and improving the productivity of wells.

Image source: test.wmprocess.com

Image source: test.wmprocess.com

Primera Energy LLC is a company that uses a horizontal drilling process along with other innovative techniques. Brian Alfaro is the President of this company. Visit this page to read more articles about the energy industry.