Some perspective on how much truck traffic it takes to drill and frack a well

I’ve read that it takes millions of gallons of water and perhaps 2,000 visits from a truck in order to drill a well.

Finally came across something that puts that in perspective.

I’ll start with truck traffic.  Will discuss the water needs next.

The Economist has a 14 page special report on natural gas in their July 14 edition: An unconventional bonanza. I discussed that previously here.

The article Sorting frack from fiction puts the water and truck traffic in perspective.

Consider this for truck traffic:

Europe is far more densely populated, and the more people that live near shale-gas operations, the more objections there will be to fleets of tankers carrying the huge quantities of sand and water needed for fracking. A single shale well could require between 890 and 1,340 truck journeys from drilling to completion.

But sensible rules can go a long way to mitigating the effect. In the Marcellus there are agreements that traffic will be suspended at weekends and on holidays, or even when the school bus is running. Moreover, operators are obliged to upgrade potholed roads and rickety bridges that otherwise might wait years for repair. And if necessary, water could be piped in at additional cost to cut down on the traffic. Traffic, in any case, is a concomitant of modern life. As the European Parliament notes, a pad with eight wells may need 4,000-6,000 lorry journeys over six months to get the well up and running; but a typical shopping centre will require 15,000-25,000 lorry journeys year in, year out.

The Economist article suggests a single well will take between 900 and 1,300 trips. Let’s go with an average of 1,100. I’ve read in the U.S. it’s typically 2,000, but don’t have a citation ready at hand.

The Economist article suggests a typical shopping center will get between 1,250 and 2,083 truck visits per month.

So, it typical single pad well needs truck traffic equal to what a shopping center gets in a month. Since it takes about a month to drill a well then you’re looking at the truck traffic for drilling a well to be equal what’s needed to supply a typical shopping center for the same amount of time.

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