Dave Lipomi, Tensar International
Dave Lipomi, Tensar International, USA, explains how geogrid systems can provide the infrastructure support that oil and gas operations need, whilst saving money on aggregate costs.
Infrastructure has rapidly improved to sustain increased traffic levels noticed in the last few years in the USA. Due in large part to the boom brought about by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas industry is one of the many industries contributing to increases in traffic and transportation changes such as heavier trucking loads.
This tremendous growth has made adapting to support the heavy loads transported on these roads an ever-evolving challenge.
Specifically, within the upstream sector, service companies use roads to transport equipment to and from remote well sites. While the midstream sector of the industry relies heavily on either transporting crude, refined petroleum or natural has products, or building pipeline infrastructure to move the products from place to place.
Additionally, construction costs for these roads have increased dramatically in recent years. This is a direct result of the presence of soft soils as well as unforeseen environmental impacts, including unpredictable harsh winters, in these rural areas.
As the oil and gas industry continues to boom, the constant use of these roadways leads to faster deterioration and unstable grounds. Over time, this becomes a hazard that puts the entire industry’s safety, production rates and costs on the line.
Improving road infrastructure
The slightest surface deformation can cause the loss of expensive equipment or, even worse, it can cause injury to those out in the field. Most access roads are not designed to withstand a haul truck’s heavy weight and the amount of traffic to and from an active well site.