Oil and gas extraction (i.e., removing oil and natural gas from the ground) is a growing industry in the United States, employing approximately 380,000 workers in 2006. In recent years, activity in this industry has increased substantially, from an average of 800 actively drilling rigs in the United States during the 1990s to approximately 1,300 during 2003–2006. In August 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asked CDC to investigate a 15% increase in fatalities among oil and gas extraction workers (from 85 fatalities in 2003 to 98 in 2004). CDC analyzed data from the BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the period 2003–2006. This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that increases in oil and gas extraction activity were correlated with an increase in the rate of fatal occupational injuries in this industry, with an annual fatality rate of 30.5 per 100,000 workers (404 fatalities) during 2003–2006, approximately seven times the rate for all workers (4.0 per 100,000 workers). Nearly half of all fatal injuries among these workers were attributed to highway motor-vehicle crashes and workers being struck by machinery or equipment.
Russia employs about 2 million people in the oil and gas industry and produces about ten million barrels per day. 87 million barrels of oil (and oil equivalent) is produced per day worldwide. The US produces about 5.5 million barrels of oil and 3 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Most of the deaths come one worker at a time from falls, vehicles crashes and being hit by machinery.
March 1980: Alexander Keilland oil rig in Ekofisk field of North Sea broke up with fatigue fracture and capsized, killing 123 people.
October 1981: United States oil drilling ship sank in South China Sea, killing 81 people. September 1982: U.S. oil rig Ocean Ranger keeled over in the North Atlantic, killing 84 people.
February 1984: One man was killed and two injured in an oil rig explosion off Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.
August 1984: Thirty-six workers drowned and 17 were injured in an explosion and fire on a Petrobras oil-drilling platform in the Campos Basin off Brazil.
January 1985: Two men were killed and two injured in a pump room explosion on Glomar Arctic II rig in the North Sea.
1988 — The Piper Alpha platform exploded and sank while drilling in the North Sea in a field operated by Occidental Petroleum, killing 167 workers.
1989 — U.S. drilling ship Seacrest capsized during a typhoon in the Gulf of Thailand, killing more than 90 people.
1995 — Thirteen people were killed and many injured in an explosion on a Mobil oil rig off coast of Nigeria.
2001 — The P-36 offshore production platform operated by Brazilian state oil company Petrobras was rocked by explosions killed 11 people. It sank off the coast of
Rio de Janeiro five days later, spilling some of the 10,000 barrels of fuel and crude it was storing into the Atlantic.
2005 — A fire destroyed the Mumbai High North processing platform off India’s west coast, affecting 123,000 bpd of crude production, or 15 percent of the country’s domestic output, and killing 12 people. The platform was owned by ONGC.
2007 — During stormy weather, the Usumacinta rig collided with the Kab-101 platform off the coast of Mexico, causing fuel leaks and killing 21 workers who tried to flee in life rafts in one of state oil firm Pemex’s worst accidents.
Jan 2009 – The death toll from an oil spill blaze in central Kenya has risen to 111, making it one of the east African nation’s worst disasters of recent times A truck crashed near Molo spilling oil that burst into flames as hundreds of locals crowded in search of free fuel. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition. Rescuers said someone may have accidentally dropped a cigarette, though there was also suspicion someone angered at being blocked by police may have started the fire on purpose.
2009 — The West Atlas mobile drilling rig leaked oil and gas into the East Timor Sea from the Montara oil field near Australia, and later sank after a fire. The spill continued for months before relief wells were drilled to plug the leak, depositing millions of gallons of crude into an ecologically sensitive marine ecosystem.
April 20, 2010 — Explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd’s (RIG.N) RIGN.S drilling rig Deepwater Horizon licensed to BP kills 11 workers. The undersea well has been gushing roughly 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) per day. The oil
spill is one of the worst in the US and threatens an environmental catastrophe along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
May 13, 2010 — A Venezuelan natural gas exploration rig sank in the Caribbean sea early on Thursday. All 95 workers on the rig were rescued and there was no gas leak, the government said.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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