Cold Weather Impacts Basin Oil Industry 2/5/14
CBS 7 News
February 5, 2014
PERMIAN BASIN-"I wish I was inside today, but I’ve got to feed my family,” said Midland Oilfield Worker Germaine Lott.
Oilfield workers brave freezing temperatures in an industry that can't pause for West Texas weather.
The frigid temperatures make it tough for oilfield drilling and service companies across the basin.
It can even be dangerous for equipment and workers, many of whom are out right now working overnight shifts.
Basin companies are on high alert for equipment malfunctions due to cold weather and they're also worried about how the weather impacts the people who run those machines.
From transportation and oilfield services to workers at drilling sites, the cold weather presents challenges for the oilfield industry.
"It’s the worst part of the year for West Texas drilling,” said Eagle Rock Drilling Superintendent Stance Wren. “The cold affects everything. You name it, it’s a problem on the drilling rig.”
Equipment failure is a real danger with lows less than 20 degrees tonight.
"I get calls most nights of something frozen, something burned up,” Wren said. “If one thing freezes, things behind it start freezing, so if you don’t think of everything before it freezes you’ve got a catastrophe on your hands.”
Many oilfield laborers are outside in the cold for much of their shift.
"Most of the time they are semi-wet, so you throw 32 degrees and a 40 mile-an-hour wind and you’ve got cold to the bone,” Wren said.
Something people say is just part of the job.
"Actually it’s going to be so cold tonight, we have to get diesel heaters in to unthaw everything, it’s going to be a long night,” said Midland Oilfield Worker Germaine Lott. “I wish I was inside today, but I’ve got to feed my family.”
Wren tells me it's unusual for rigs to shut down because of weather, but if they do encounter any safety issues on this cold night, they will take the proper precautions.