Battery Theft Afflicts Oil and Gas Drillers

Sep 15, 2013

Credit texastribune.org

Batteries in the oil field cost a few hundred more than a car battery, and they’re used to power equipment that monitors pipelines.   Battery supply companies buy the batteries- dead or alive, and that seems to be an open door for theft reported The Texas Tribune.  

“We’re beginning to see more and more of it because there’s been so much production,” said Ed Krevit, chief deputy at the Midland County Sheriff's Office. He expects a surge of activity in the Cline Shale to exacerbate theft problems in the Permian Basin.  

Batteries are particularly popular targets because they are small and relatively easy to nab with bolt cutters, but thieves are taking more than batteries.  Metal valves, piping, even the crude oil, vanishes from the oilfields.  In a 2008 study, West Texas counties estimated that oilfield thefts cost drillers $78 million during the previous three years.  The actual costs could be twice that because many thefts go unreported.

Texas state law does not require battery recyclers to collect name or address from those selling the batteries, it does, however, require recyclers of certain metals to report to the Department of Public Safety information on sales of regulated material that includes metals like copper, bronze, and aluminum.  Experts say it might help if lawmakers added batteries to the list.