As we discussed in February, with the outlook for oil uncertain, it is nearly impossible to find a consensus on what workers can expect in terms of both job opportunities and on-the-job safety in 2016 and beyond. While some experts have forecasted a “surge” in new offshore activity, many oil companies are shutting down rigs in the Gulf of Mexico while looking ahead to 2017. As we have also discussed, many oil and gas companies are continuing to cut costs – with jobs and safety-related concerns often first on the chopping block.
However, some oil companies are in fact making new investments in the Gulf of Mexico. Recent news reports have highlighted two projects in particular:
New Oil and Gas Projects in the Gulf of Mexico
1. ExxonMobil Starts Production in the Julia Oil Field
In April, ExxonMobil announced that it had started oil production in the Julia oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. As of April 25, one well was already producing oil, and a second was expected to begin production shortly. In addition, a Maersk drillship is drilling a third well that ExxonMobil expects to begin producing oil in early 2017.
Discovered in 2007, the Julia oilfield sits approximately 200 miles south of Houston, TX. It is jointly owned by ExxonMobil and Statoil, and is expected to hold an estimated six billion barrels of recoverable oil.
2. American Midstream Partners Invests $225 Million in the Gulf of Mexico
Also in April, American Midstream Partners announced that it was investing $225 million in projects in the Gulf of Mexico. An oil and gas pipeline company, American Midstream Partners has reported purchased interests in a number of natural gas pipelines, including:
- The Destin natural gas pipeline
- The Tri-States and Wilprise natural gas liquid pipelines
- Crude, national gas and saltwater pipelines previously owned by Chevron
American Midstream Partners also reportedly increased its ownership share in the Delta House deepwater floating production system (FPS). The Delta House FPS, labeled the “first of its kind,” taps wells in three oil fields in the Mississippi Canyon east of Houston.
Good News for Offshore Workers?
While new activity in the Gulf of Mexico may be good news in terms of opening up new jobs for offshore workers, in the oil and gas industry, new opportunities often mean new risks as well. When oil and gas companies face tight deadlines or are forced to do more with less (or both), their workers are often left without the tools, training, and experienced manpower needed to do their jobs safely. This has a tendency to lead to long hours and on-the-job risks that are frequently to blame for offshore injuries.
Have You Been Injured Working Offshore? Contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP Today
Morrow & Sheppard LLP is a Houston-based maritime law firm that represents victims and their families following accidents in the Gulf of Mexico. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed working offshore, we urge you to contact us to speak with a Houston maritime lawyer about your legal rights. For a free, confidential consultation, call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online now.