Tag Archives: Oilfield

Coke, Meth and Booze: The Flip Side of The Permian Oil Boom

Oil rig hands work on the floor of an oil and gas drilling rig in the Permian Basin near Farmington, New Mexico. (Image Encana Corp)

The fastest-growing oil region in the US is fueling not only the second American shale revolution—it’s fueling a subculture of drug and alcohol abuse among oil field workers.

The Permian shale play in West Texas is once again booming with drilling and is full of oil field workers, some of which are abusing drugs and alcohol to help them get through long shifts, harsh working conditions, and loneliness and isolation.

Drugs are easily accessible in the Permian, which is close to highways and to Mexico. For oil field workers making six-figure salaries, money is not a problem to buy all kinds of illegal substances to shoot, snort and swallow to get through 24-hour-plus shifts. The physically exhaustive work also sometimes causes aches for workers, making them susceptible to getting hooked on prescription painkillers.

The drug and alcohol abuse subculture in the Permian is a known—yet rarely reported or discussed—issue in the most prolific US shale play, where oil production is booming, and relentless drilling attracts oil field workers from all over Texas and all parts of the United States.

In Midland, in the very heart of the Permian oil boom, The Springboard Center—a drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility—has many clients from the oil fields, Christopher Pierce, director of marketing for center, tells Rigzone’s Valerie Jones in an interview.

“We get a lot of clients who work in the oilfield because of where we’re located,” says Pierce, 35, a former oil field worker, and a former addict.

Pierce and The Springboard Center in Midland are now working on building a gated living camp community free of drugs or alcohol for people who want to be in a safe place.

Oil workers are not speaking up at work about their addiction for fear of getting fired, Pierce said, adding that he doesn’t have anything negative to say about the oil industry, which is the backbone of the economic growth in the Permian.

Some oil field workers and contractors use drug cocktails or various substances depending on the condition they seek to achieve during their 24-hour-plus shifts. At the beginning of a long or overnight shift, they would use ‘uppers’ like cocaine and methamphetamines, and finish the shift with ‘downers’ such as prescription medication or alcohol, Kayla Fishbeck, regional evaluator for Prevention Resource Center Region 9, a data repository for 30 counties in West Texas, told Rigzone.

“In Region 9, the most screened drug last year was amphetamines and that was largely in the oilfield,” she said.

Thanks to the oil boom, the unemployment rate in Midland is at a record low 2.1 percent, and the unemployment rate in Odessa is also a historically low of 2.8 percent.

According to Fishbeck, Midland and Odessa are the top two Texas cities for drunken-driving fatalities.

“We hear stories of guys getting off their shift, getting a six-pack or 12-pack on their way home and start drinking in their truck,” Fishbeck told Rigzone.

The Permian’s drug of choice is crystal meth, a stimulant increasingly supplied by Mexican drug cartels, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to the Houston Chronicle in May.

There is a strong correlation between the rise of drilling activity and the number of crystal meth seizures by authorities in the Permian area, Houston Chronicle’s cross-analysis of data from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the rig count shows.

Eddy Lozoya, a former oil field trucker and a recovering addict at 23, has recently found a job at a local department store selling shoes. At least for the next few months, he doesn’t plan to return to the oil field.

“I don’t see myself being able to work 100 hours a week sober,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “The oil field is tough.”

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com


RCMP Investigate After Heavy Equipment Used to Dig Up Pipeline from Ground in Northern Alberta


$500K to 700K damage done to Paramount Resources pipeline

By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff, Jan 17, 2017

RCMP are investigating after significant damage was caused to an oilfield pipeline under construction in Northern Alberta.

According to 630 CHED, an employee found the damage at around 9 p.m. Saturday night at a construction site north of Hythe.

RCMP in Grande Prairie believe vandals used heavy equipment at the site to dig up a portion of the pipeline, which will now have to be replaced.

Global News reports, a spokesman for the body that regulates pipelines in Alberta says Paramount Resources owns the pipeline which is under construction and no product was involved or spilled.

Damage to the pipeline is estimated at $500,000 to $700,000.

The investigation continues.

Hythe is located 60 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie.

The area is no stranger to radical environmental activism.

During the 1990s, a landowner in the area engaged in a lengthy battle with oil companies in the area.

Between 1996 and 1998, there were at least 160 vandalism incidents at oil and gas facilities in northwestern Alberta. They ranged from nails strewn along lease roads to shootings and bombings.

Wiebo Ludwig arrives at a police barricade outside his farm near Hythe, Alta. in 2010, after spending the night at the RCMP detatchment in Grande Prairie, Alta..

Wiebo Ludwig arrives at a police barricade outside his farm near Hythe, Alta. in 2010, after spending the night at the RCMP detatchment in Grande Prairie, Alta..

Wiebo Ludwig believed flared hydrogen sulphide and sour gas were linked to birth defects and miscarriages occurring around his Christian community of Trickle Creek Ranch, near Hythe.

After appeals to the government to intervene went unheard, he took action into his own hands

In April 2000, Ludwig was convicted of bombing a Suncor well site close to his home near Hythe. He was also found guilty of encasing a Norcen Energy well in concrete and counselling an RCMP informant to possess explosives.

He served 19 months in jail. Ludwig died in 2012.

Amazon tribe attacks oilfield in Ecuador

Google Maps image showing Arajuno Canton

Google Maps image showing Arajuno Canton


Indigenous leaders are calling for the release of six tribesmen implicated in a raid on an oilfield in Eastern Ecuador that left six soldiers injured, reports Andina and El Comercio.

According to Ecuador’s defense ministry, on January 6th a group of Waorani (Huaroani) tribesmen armed with spears, bows and arrows, blowguns, and firearms seized a facility run by Petrobell in Arajuno canton, in Pastaza province. The action shut down production at the oilfield, which normally produces 3,200 barrels a day.

The army then stormed the facility, resulting in clashes that led to six soldiers suffering gunshot wounds. No one was reported killed.

The defense ministry said the arrests were necessary to stop “looting” and disruption of oil production. The Waorani have been in custody since then.

However Franco Viteri, head of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONAIE), is calling for the men to be released, arguing that they were defending their traditional territory from incursions by oil companies, which have caused substantial damage to forests and indigenous communities in eastern Ecuador in recent decades.

“For 40 years, oil companies, with the consent of the State, have been smashing, looting and sabotaging the good life of indigenous peoples, disrupting the lifestyle of the Waorani people, a situation that has… escalated conflicts,” he said in a statement.

Petrobell is a subsidiary of Synergy Group Corp., a conglomerate headquartered in Brazil.