Oilfield Pipeline Explosions
The U.S. boasts one of the largest networks of energy pipelines in the world, with an estimated two million miles of pipelines used for transporting oil and natural gasses underground. Many of these pipelines run through Oklahoma and put oilfield workers at serious risk of sustaining injuries in the event of an explosion or leak.
Types of Pipelines
Energy companies use a lot of different types of pipelines to move their product, but oil pipelines and natural gas pipelines are the most common. The former transport crude and refined oils between oilfields and refineries and can be anywhere from a few inches to many feet in diameter. Most are underground, except where they rise to the surface at pump stations and valves. Natural gas pipelines, on the other hand, carry natural gas to companies that then use the pipelines to distribute the gas to consumers. Used both residentially and industrially, these pipelines are pressurized to help promote movement from end to end. Unfortunately, the substances carried by these pipelines are highly combustible and very volatile and can trigger devastating explosions. This is becoming an increasingly serious problem in the U.S., where the pipeline infrastructure is rapidly aging.
Causes of Pipeline Explosions
Because they transport volatile oil and pressurized gas, pipelines always have the potential to cause explosions. Unfortunately, this means that even a momentary lapse in safety standards or operation can trigger an explosion. Oilfield pipeline explosions can happen for a variety of reasons, but most are caused by:
- Improper pipeline installation;
- Aging meters, lines, joints, mains, and pipes;
- Improper pipeline maintenance or repair;
- Defective pipelines or safety equipment;
- Failing to respond to reports of gas leaks; and
- Failing to properly train pipeline workers and excavators.
Taking certain precautionary measures can help prevent pipeline explosions. Proper installation of pipelines, for instance, which includes ensuring that pipes are properly welded, can prevent problems down the road. Checking an area thoroughly before beginning excavation work can also ensure that a pipeline is not accidentally ruptured. Repairing aging and corroding pipelines is also critical to preventing pipeline breaks and potential explosions. While companies are legally required to take these measures to prevent dangerous explosions, many fail to do so, which can have devastating consequences for employees and people who live near the oilfield.
Contact a Dedicated Tulsa Oilfield Accident Lawyer for Help
If you were injured, suffered property damage, or lost a loved one in an oilfield pipeline explosion accident, you will find skilled and compassionate counsel at Levinson Law, P.C. Our dedicated Tulsa oilfield accident attorneys have been fighting for oilfield victims for decades, helping them seek compensation for their accident-related medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. The oil companies responsible for these kinds of devastating accidents are typically well-funded and well-represented. Fortunately, you do not have to face them alone. To learn more about how our legal team can help with your case, call us at 918-492-4433 or fill out one of our brief online contact forms today.