This session highlighted how the transportation industry is poised to meet the increasing demand of the energy industry as it continues to develop the Marcellus Shale.
Pennsylvania, New York and the rest of the east coast are crisscrossed with short line and long haul railroads. The railroads move spherical sand from as far away as Nebraska and Wisconsin to the Marcellus. They also haul used crane mats and drill cuttings to lighten the load on municipal solid waste sites on the east coast. They ease the burden of demurrage and storage costs on developers. Railroad economics can be very compelling, but advance planning is necessary to help developers optimize their supply chain costs.
Similarly, the trucking industry is poised to help. Barge and rail transport will only get materials so far. Trucking companies deliver materials to drill sites and haul them away. Trucking companies also handle the long haul capacity not covered by rail or barge. Each well requires over 10,000 feet of casing. Multiple truck runs are necessary for each well. Line pipe also gets carried by truck to the job site. Trucking companies face challenges including CSA 2010, which cuts into the driver pool, but protects the public from drivers with multiple tickets. The life of a long haul carrier is also a hard one, with long hours and time away from home, so it can be difficult to find and retain experienced drivers. The trucking industry is committed, however, to offer safe, reliable, consistent performance.
The water industry was also represented on the panel. To frack one well requires 5 million gallons of water, carried in 1,000 trucks. The average cost per barrel of water is $3.36. Each truck weighs 25 tons, which puts stress on roads. So the water industry is active building pipelines along gas gathering lines to help serve producers. Piped water supply is "on demand." The advantages are there is no waiting and has a decreased delivery cost. These pipelines are just beginning, but more water infrastructure is on the way.
The barge industry was the last to present. The Ohio river runs through the center of the Marcellus and Utica Shale's. It provides harbor services, crane and construction services for marine construction, marine dredging, repair services and tank barge services. Many chemical companies move products between their facilities using tank barges. Barges move 600 million tons of material each year. Additional capacity is being built to handle the additional work necessary in the Marcellus and elsewhere. Where barge transportation is an option, it is highly cost competitive.