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Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Oilfield Accident > The Dangers Of Oil Well Blowouts

The Dangers Of Oil Well Blowouts


Active oil wells that bring petroleum oil and hydrocarbons to the surface require constant maintenance to ensure that they are operating properly and safely. Unfortunately, even the most well maintained oil well could become unstable and result in a blowout, in which the failure of pressure control systems leads to the uncontrolled release of crude oil and natural gas aboveground.

What is an Oil Well Blowout? 

Drilling wells use internal pressure to keep fluids circulating properly. Disruptions with this pressure can, however, result in an oil well blowout, in which the flow of a well’s contents is reversed and driven up and out onto ground level. Oil well blowouts are hard to predict and prevent, as they have a number of different causes, including:

  • Unforeseen geologic conditions;
  • Drilling into a pressurized reservoir;
  • Pumping too much drilling mud into the well to create pressure, which can interact with geologic substances and launch oil and gas upwards;
  • Using faulty equipment or improper materials, such as the wrong drilling mud mixture, which can cause clay blockages and excessive pressure; and
  • Oil well mismanagement, including a failure to install or maintain a blowout preventer.

These kinds of accidents can happen at any time during the drilling process and almost always have catastrophic repercussions for nearby workers.

Oil Well Blowouts Cause Serious Injuries 

In addition to oil and gas, well blowouts can lead to the forceful expulsion of mud, sand, and rocks, all of which can strike a nearby worker and cause serious blunt force injuries. The sudden release of pressure that accompanies an oil well blowout can also destroy equipment parts, snap heavy cables on the surface, and even destabilize entire oil derricks, which can also cause injuries. Besides blunt force trauma, oilfield employees who are working in proximity to an oil well blowout can suffer:

  • Lacerations from snapping cables, damaged equipment, and rocks and debris;
  • Amputations from being crushed beneath collapsing equipment or flying debris;
  • Ear and eye injuries, caused by flying debris and the loud explosive noises that accompany blowouts;
  • Burns caused by the release of flammable hydrocarbons that ignite via a spark of friction;
  • Inhalation injuries from exposure to toxins, such as methane, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide, which can be deadly; and
  • Psychological trauma, which can be accompanied by headaches, insomnia, and mood swings.

These types of catastrophic injuries can be ruinously expensive to treat, with many injured workers often requiring long stays in the hospital, surgeries and post-op care, assistive devices, ongoing physical therapy, and medications. Fortunately, injured oilfield workers can often recover reimbursement for these expenses, as well as their lost wages from their employers.

Contact Levinson Law, P.C. for Legal Help Today 

Oil well blowouts tend to have catastrophic consequences that can leave injured oilfield workers reeling under the heavy burden of physical injuries and expensive medical bills. You do not, however, have to shoulder these burdens alone. For help with your oilfield accident claim, call the experienced and compassionate Tulsa oilfield accident lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. today.




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