Bakken Oil Industry Continues to Tax Transportation Infrastructure

Laura McRae

About Laura McRae

Laura McRae has written 66 post in this blog.

28 Year Veteran of the Financial Services Industry, 12 Year Volunteer Business Mentor for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), BA History & Political Science - Montana State University Bozeman, MBA University of Phoenix

How many truckloads does it take to bring an oil well in North Dakota into production?

Source: Bloomber, Matthew Staver

The answer, “1,012″ ! 

Okay – where’s the punch line ? Well (no pun intended) there isn’t one. The answer really is “1,012″ truck loads.  And that’s just one way !

  • 80 truckloads of sand
  • 400 truckloads of fresh water
  • 200 truckloads of waste water
  • 100 truckloads of Frac tanks
  • 50 truckloads of rig equipment
  • 50 truckloads of drilling mud
  • 4 truckloads of chemicals
  • 15 truckloads of cement
  • 10 truckloads of pipe
  • 80 truckloads of scoria/gravel
  • 7 truckloads of fuel
  • 15 truckloads of Frac/Cement pumper trucks
  • 1 truckload – work-over rigs

Put that level of commercial, oil industry truck traffic on the existing road system in western North Dakota and its easy to see why communities are straining under the weight of bringing Bakken to market.  Roadway demand will continue to grow as the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources estimates that more than 20,000 new oil wells could be drilled in Western North Dakota over the next 20 years.

According to a January 2011 article in Bloomberg Businessweek, “roads battered by heavy truck traffic in western North Dakota’s oil country are already hampering development and driving up shipping costs”.  North Dakota transportation analysts estimate that it will cost at least $907 million over the next 20 years to rebuild or maintain roads that are essential to carrying oil industry traffic in 17 counties.  Factoring in an annual inflation rate of 5%  into road construction costs, and that could translate to @ $1.3 billion.

2011 reports estimated that over 68 miles of paved roads utilized heavily by the oil industry were in poor or very poor condition; and that 334 miles were considered to be in fair condition, but were in jeopardy of rapid deterioration from heavy over use.  Without aggressive repair and maintenance, the oil industry could become further constrained in terms of transportation distribution and logistical costs.

In direct response to this impending need, state agencies set out to address the very real transporation infrastructure concerns in 14 western North Dakota communities with a series of on site meetings with local leaders in order to gain their perspective, update them on the status of the state’s progress, address safety concerns due to traffic congestion, and collaborate on planning throughout the region.

Near future plans are to create truck reliever routes or bypasses to assist in moving truck traffic out of  city centers; thereby alleviating traffic congestion.  It’s the ND Department of Transportation (NDDOT) to intent to expedite truck reliever routes, currently planned, for the most impacted cities.

For indepth details click and go to page 2 of  the report issued by the state of North Dakota – Tour Findings and State Response.

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