Julia-Palmer, Gray Reed and McGraw

WRIN.tv speaks with Julia Palmer during the 2015 IRMI Energy Risk and Insurance Conference, a partner at the law firm of Gray Reed and McGraw, about claims litigation and emerging legal trends.

According to Ms. Palmer, the advent of shale gas production brought with it concern about contamination of ground water. She says those cases are not going to trial, many dismissed and not pursued because “they can’t be proven.”  She points to a great deal of litigation “relating to surface spills, trucking accidents, product failures at the well site, faulty products (such as casing failures, rental equipment failures)…So it’s related more to the operational side rather than ground water pollution.”

Ms. Palmer also sees litigation surrounding directional drilling, where contractors are drilling multiple wells off of a single pad and colliding with another established well.

With the rapid expansion of the oil and gas industry, there are a lot of new inexperienced workers coming into the industry and mistakes are made. With the drop in oil and gas prices, companies are cutting expenses in order to remain profitable.  If and when an accident happens, litigators are going to be looking at is whether a company is keeping the best trained employees, the types of technology and equipment being used, and how standards are being maintained.

For more from the IRMI Energy Risk and Insurance Conference, visit the IRMI website, or the WRIN.tv On Demand Library

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