A Tulsa County jury returned a $2.4 million verdict against Unit Petroleum Co. last week in a 2016 case filed by Williford Energy Co.
The jury found Unit was grossly negligent in the drilling of a Beaver County oil well in 2013.
Unit Petroleum, a subsidiary of Tulsa-based Unit Corp., was the designated operator of the well under a joint operating agreement, while Williford, an independently-owned Tulsa-based oil-and-gas company, was the owner of the well.
In the lawsuit, Williford alleged Unit left out three joints of pipe — each 44 feet long and weighing 1,200 pounds — of the intermediate casing string.
“The reason the jury found gross negligence in this case was because the mistakes Unit made were so easy to avoid, so easy to catch and so fundamental to the drilling process,” said Paul DeMuro, an attorney representing Williford in the case.
“This verdict is unique because there are just not many cases like this filed because the standards are so high.”
He added that this was the first verdict of this size in Oklahoma where an operator was found grossly negligent in well operations.
“Unit is a good company — it just made big mistakes on this well, and the jury held them accountable,” he said.
An attorney for Unit was unable to be reached for a comment.