Theft of Oilfield Equipment Is Rising

Oilfield Equipment Theft Is On The Rise

Oilfield Theft on the rise
Oilfield Theft

With the immense increase in oil and gas production across the country, it makes sense that a certain level of opportunism will raise its ugly head. While the oil and gas companies that work similar geographic areas are frequently part of a tight industry network, the amount of transient and green labor employed these days may be driving an increase in general theft or petty crimes. The lack of effective security on most drill sites is also part of the reason why so many oilfield operators are reporting theft of equipment on a daily basis. Oilfield equipment can be incredibly expensive, much of it can be sold for cash, and little to no record keeping is maintained regarding any actual sales transactions. Oil and gas companies are increasingly forced to employ costly security guards and anti-theft equipment on the jobsite, further complicating the process of managing a drill site.


Batteries Are Among The Most Stolen Oilfield Items


Batteries are used on the oilfield in a variety of capacities. Most frequently, batteries are used to power the test equipment that monitors wellbore conditions, drill site activity, and other general oilfield needs. These batteries appear to operate much like an automotive battery, but they are larger in size and quite costly when compared to the standard “under the hood” battery. These batteries can cost upwards of $400 each, and are an absolute necessity on the oilfield. Thieves target these batteries because they are easily removed from the oilfield, oftentimes using little more than a pair of pliers or bolt cutters, and they can be sold for cash to a variety of energy industry buyers.

In the East Texas shale fields of Haynesville, theft is on the rise as drillers flock to the area to tap into the crude rich deposits – often unaware of the opportunistic individuals who understand the value of oilfield equipment. It is not a requirement to log sales of batteries in the state of Texas, so thieves are generally able to sell for cash and have little risk in doing so. Other states, like Louisiana, require a bill of sale for anyone selling oilfield equipment – including batteries. Texas may consider a similar approach to help quell the flow of thieves around the oilfield.


Oilfield Workers Must Remain Vigilant Against Theft


Those on the oilfield must keep a watchful eye against theft, as losing batteries, drill accessories, tools, and other goods can lead to a serious interruption in production. This is a direct threat to the livelihood of those who drill for a living, so a watchful eye must be maintained at all times. Also, oil and gas companies should invest in armed guards – the cost of their salaries may be offset by the reduction in thefts. This is an option for the larger drilling companies, as the cost of a full-time guard may be cost prohibitive for the smaller units. In the end, a watchful eye and proper security control measures will go a long way to minimizing the loss of valuable equipment at the hands of common thieves.