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As Big Oil’s Profits Fall In Houston, TX, Workers May be at Increased Risk for Offshore Injuries

As news of $2 per gallon gas prices makes national headlines, oil rig and offshore industry publications are reporting on the oil companies’ financial struggles. When Big Oil’s profits fall, we always caution rig workers to be extra vigilant about the risks of offshore injuries.

While industry experts predicted that the $60 per barrel oil prices we saw earlier in the year would be fleeting, they expected prices to go the opposite direction of where they did. With increased demand during the summer months, oil prices usually rise. However, as of the end of July, the price of crude was down to just over $47 per barrel. July actually saw the sharpest single-month decline in crude prices since October 2008.

Exxon, Chevron, Shell and Others All Report Financial Struggles

Rigzone and Offshore Energy Today have both recently published several stories on the major oil companies’ financial woes. Headlines like, Exxon, Chevron Bracing for Dark Times Ahead as Oil Slump Lingers, and Shell Axes 6,500 Jobs, Slashes Capex lead into stories about how these industry giants are cutting spending in order to account for billions of dollars in lost revenue. Exxon’s and Chevron’s stock prices are at their lowest points in years, and several companies are reporting dramatic profit reductions year-over-year.

In order to help offset their revenue losses, the oil companies are making drastic reductions in spending. After cutting its budget by more than nine percent in 2014, Exxon is expecting to exceed its anticipated 12 percent budget cut for 2015. In lockstep, Shell recently announced that it plans to lay off 6,500 workers and drastically cut its capital expenditures in 2015. The company is already anticipating further cost reductions in 2016.

In similar news, the European arm of Afren – an international oil exploration and production company with offices in Houston, TX – announced that it was filing for administration (similar to bankruptcy) due to financial issues tied to oil’s bear market. While BG Group – soon to be acquired by Shell – reported an increase in profits during the second quarter of 2015, its overall revenue was down 28 percent from 2014. If profits are up and revenue is down, this can only mean one thing: a substantial drop in spending.

Financial Struggles May Signal Heightened Risks for Offshore Workers

As we have previously discussed, when Big Oil’s profits are down, this is often a time when offshore workers are at increased risk for on-the-job injuries. The reason for this is that the oil companies’ cost cutting measures often result in:

  • Reductions or delays in maintenance and upgrades
  • Employees being pressured to work longer hours
  • New and existing workers receiving inadequate training

In addition, when the oil companies begin to ramp up production after the slowdown is over, the flood of new employees can put everyone working on the rig at heightened risk for injuries from oversights, mistakes, and miscommunications. Studies have shown that working under these types of strained conditions is a major factor leading to offshore injuries.

What Offshore Workers Can Do to Protect Themselves

As an offshore worker, unfortunately, you to a large extent are at the mercy of your employer. If the oil company you work for is slashing jobs and cutting back on safety measures, on a day-to-day basis all you can do is follow safe practices and maintain awareness of your surroundings. If you witness a safety violation, you can report it to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), though a federal investigation will likely to take a significant amount of time before resulting in any changes to your working conditions. You can also report any issues to Zehl & Associates, and we can counsel you on your legal rights.

If you have already suffered an offshore injury, we can help you fight for financial compensation.

Contact the Undefeated Houston Offshore Injury Attorneys from Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers for Help Today

At Zehl & Associates, we provide aggressive legal representation for workers who have suffered offshore injuries. We have recovered over $1 Billion for our clients, including the #1 largest accident verdict in Texas. To discuss your claim with one of our experienced offshore injury attorneys, call our Houston, TX law offices at (888) 603-3636 or request a free consultation online today.

We proudly serve Harris County, Midland County, and throughout the state of Texas:

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Houston
2700 Post Oak Blvd #1000, Houston, TX 77056
(888) 603-3636
Open 24 hours

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Midland
306 W Wall St Suite 701, Midland, TX 79701
(432) 220-0000
Open 24 hours