Oil Theft Continues to Climb in Eagle Ford Shale

Oil theft in Texas has existed since the earliest days of the oil industry and today, is often linked to Mexico’s drug trafficking, especially in the Eagle Ford. The issue of the drug cartels exploiting the Eagle Ford Shale’s network of private roads has been a concern since 2012 when officials realized that by had inadvertently created pathways for those smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants.

Oil thefts this year include:

  • Colorado officials in Weld County recovered almost $300,000 worth of stolen drill bit.
  • Texas man pleaded guilty to stealing three truckloads of oil worth nearly $60,000.
  • The Texas Attorney General’s Office is investigating a case of 470,000 barrels stolen and sold over the past three years worth about $40 million.”

Earlier this month, Texas lawmakers met in Austin to discuss the growing problem of oil theft in the Texas oil patch and to craft a bill that would increase the penalties for the crime. Governor Greg Abbott vetoed a similar bill already, but lawmakers hope to revive it next during the next legislative session in 2017. In what some are pegging as one of the top energy issues for the next legislative session in 2017, they’re aiming to send Abbott an anti-theft bill he can stomach. House Speaker Joe Straus asked lawmakers to “Examine whether current statutes are adequate for the successful prosecution of oilfield theft. Consider the potential economic impact of increasing penalties for oil and gas theft and make recommendations establishing an effective law enforcement response.”