Heavy Trucks Become a Fixture in Texas’ Energy Patch

Many Texas residents living in oil-and-gas-rich areas of the state, including the Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Barnett Shale and others, have been content to play a waiting game in terms of contending with the influx of drilling rigs and heavy trucks that clogged many state roads for the past couple years. Their presumption is that, once the wells are established, their roads will return to normal.

But a recent report from the Texas Transportation Commission indicates that only five years after a natural gas well is established through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), that same well will require more work in order to re-establish gas production. A staggering number of trucks are required to establish a single gas well – nearly 1,200, according to the report – and nearly 1,000 loaded trucks are required to restore production five years later.

Those numbers don’t take into account the 353 truck visits per year that are needed in order to keep a well in production.

While the report’s main focus was the wear and tear that truck traffic will have on bridges and roads (about $1 billion per year), what’s unstated is the repeated peril drivers find themselves facing in the energy patch as they deal with more and more 18-wheelers, water haulers, and other heavy trucks.

Against the backdrop of these troubling statistics, the transportation commission is trying its best to educate the public about safe driving.

It’s important for trucking firms to do their part in ensuring that their drivers obey federal regulations and keep safety at the forefront as their employers reap staggering profits from the energy boom.

We’ve all seen what can happen when safety takes a back seat.