South Texas Oil and Gas Boom Means More Tanker Traffic

Already a prominent oil and gas state, Texas can expect its contribution to the nation's energy resources to keep growing.

Take the Barnett Shale formation, for instance, near Fort Worth.

The Barnett Shale already produces six percent of all natural gas produced in the entire 48 contiguous states, with more production expected.

Texas Shale Formations & Hydraulic Fracturing

Extracting trapped natural gas from the reservoirs of layered shale rock has, for the first time in just the last several years, become practical and profitable.

Conventional drilling equipment is not strong enough to get through hard shale rock.

Enter "hydrofracking," which is the use of pressurized fluid (a mixture of water and chemicals) to open existing cracks in the shale. The liquid mixture is sent through a well bore, opening up the shale and allowing natural gas to find its way to the surface.

Without a doubt, hydrofracking technology has brought new vitality to the oil and gas business in areas where drilling simply was not possible - but that new vitality has brought with it a heavy increase in oil tanker traffic and tractor trailer accidents on South Texas roads that weren't designed for such use.

More Highway Traffic from Oil & Gas Drilling Means More Accidents

More activity in the oil and gas industry is certainly good economic news.

In the Barnett Shale alone, some estimates show that production has increased by a factor of 30 in recent years, and neighboring shale formations hold equal promise. The Woodford Shale, for example, north of the Barnett Shale, extends into Oklahoma and is currently being targeted by oil and gas companies. The Woodford Shale is thought to have produced only 15 to 20 percent of total capacity thus far.

But the new oil and gas boom is not without its potential risks to local motorists and commuters on Texas highways.

Oil and gas companies operate all types of tanker trucks on South Texas roadways, heading to and from the Barnett Shale and Eagle Ford Shale formations, and sometimes not a day goes by without hearing about an accident or having a close call.

Oil tanker drivers are under a lot of pressure to complete their runs and drive long hours, which can lead to accidents because drivers were just too tired to be behind the wheel. Other tanker truck accidents result from overcrowding on the highways. Some tankers simply take up too much space.

Still other accidents come from driving under the influence, speeding, or poor maintenance.

If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving an oil tanker or other type of tanker truck, consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer about your case.