Headquartered in El Dorado, Arkansas, Murphy Oil Corporation is an energy company devoted to exploration and production. Much of that work happens in offshore settings, which is very dangerous. Murphy is also a company that is located in the U.S., but that operates globally. In addition to the Arkansas headquarters, Murphy has locations in Texas, Canada, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Australia.
With over 1,200 employees this large international company has access to over 700 million barrels of oil equivalent, which includes crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum. Murphy does work that is dangerous, but it claims to be committed to safety and environmental responsibility. It does have a lot of safety incidents on its records, though, and lawsuits brought by workers who were injured, and some even killed on the job.
The original company was Murphy Corporation, founded in 1950 in Louisiana, although reaching deeper into the past, its origins can be found in a 1907 logging and banking business. The modern name, Murphy Oil Corporation came in 1964 when the company reincorporated in Delaware.
Murphy discovered its first oil field in 1921 in Arkansas, and the oil business took off from there. In the 1950s it began exploring for oil in Western Canada and also found fields in Montana. It was in 1953 that the company first tackled offshore exploration and drilling with a submersible drilling barge that could take rigs out to deeper waters. The backbone of the company’s offshore resources for decades would first be tapped in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1960s, the Eugene Island and South Pelto fields.
As the years went on Murphy grew by expanding its international reach to the North Sea, Malaysia, and other locations, and by buying up other companies. Most recently the company sold its refineries to focus more on drilling and exploration and tapped its first deep water wells of the coast of Malaysia and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Operations and Services
Murphy has always been a company dedicated to exploration of oil and gas fields and that is its biggest strength and asset today. The company focuses its exploration on four key regions around the world: the Gulf of Mexico, Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Atlantic Margin. Murphy is considered a successful offshore exploration company with technical experience and the ability to transition quickly from discovering a field to making it productive.
Naturally, the work of exploring and tapping offshore oil fields is dangerous. There are many risks involved from transporting workers to platforms to moving big rigs and setting up platforms to operating drills and other big pieces of equipment. In order to conduct business as safely as possible, a company like Murphy must take responsibility for worker safety.
According to the company, it operates under an HSE-MS, also known as a Health, Safety, and Environmental Management System. This single operating policy is used throughout the company to ensure that far-reaching employees everywhere are guided by the same principles for safety and environmental responsibility.
For safety, the HSE-MS relies on eleven main points: Managers and employers are committed to safety; everyone knows their roles and responsibilities; compliance is assured; risk is managed; facilities are designed and constructed with safety in mind; operational maintenance is important; contractors are well managed; workers are trained and competent; emergency plans are in place; incidents are reported and investigated; these lead to constant evaluations and improvement.
Murphy’s Safety Incidents
In spite of its detailed and thoughtful plans for safety and responsibility, Murphy Oil Corporation has faced a number of incidents involving injured workers and even killed workers. As the employer Murphy is responsible for making workplaces as safe as is reasonably possible. Employees know they work in a dangerous industry, but they expect the company to take all steps to prevent accidents.
One terrible incident occurred in 2002 that left one worker dead and another severely burned. The widow and wife of these two workers filed lawsuits against Murphy and the other company involved. The two men were pipe fitters working for a company contracted by Murphy to work at one of its refineries.
After a maintenance shut down at the refinery it was discovered that a part was left on that should not have been. The two men and a third, uninjured worker were asked to remove it. While doing so, flammable liquid spilled out and onto the man who died, setting him on fire. He died a terrible death, while the second worker suffered serious burns to his face and neck. An investigation found that Murphy and the company the men worked for were both negligent and had received previous safety citations similar to what caused the terrible accident.
Another incident occurred in 2015 aboard a vessel, a drill rig ship, called the Discoverer Deep Seas. A worker was being transported to the vessel by bucket when that bucket was struck. The worker suffered shoulder, neck, and back injuries as a result. The man has sued Murphy and another company involved, accusing them of not ensuring that the vessel was seaworthy, that they failed to warn him of possible dangers, and that they were negligent in his injuries.
Maritime Law and Workers’ Rights
The man who was injured in the bucket was well within his rights to demand compensation from his employer. As a maritime worker he has a right to assume that the vessel aboard which he works will be maintained for seaworthiness. That doesn’t just mean that it floats and can travel; it also has to operate as it is supposed to and be safe for all workers.
When a maritime company doesn’t live up to that end of the bargain, seamen and other maritime workers may consult maritime laws to ensure they get the compensation the need after an accident. If you have been injured in the maritime industry, be sure to consult with a professional maritime lawyer to get the advice you need about proceeding with a lawsuit and demanding damages for your injuries.