As the fist of dropping prices has tightened around oil companies, it’s forced a change in focus for producers. Companies are easing up on drilling and cutting back the number of operating rigs. But, they’re not closing up shop. Which means, as they wait for a turn-around in oil prices, they need to focus on other projects.
Typically, pipe distributors working in the Bakken since the beginning of the boom have worked on natural gas and saltwater lines. Within the last year, those projects have quickly been replaced by a demand for freshwater supply systems. It’s a matter of both necessity and safety.
Oil producers have long relied on trucks to transport water to well sites. But, the frenetic pace of production in the field led to safety concerns. North Dakota authorities estimate that during the height of the boom, about one-quarter of the water trucks on the road were overloaded, carrying too much weight for the truck’s design. That extra weight affects the truck’s ability to stop, which in turn amps up the amount of damage it could cause in a crash.
The thousands of overweight trucks also damage roadways, creating ruts and sections of cracking, crumbling asphalt. North Dakota will spend $40 million dollars to fix one deteriorating stretch of US Highway 2 this year.
The solution is to build freshwater supply systems and now, when production has slowed, is the perfect time. Piping solutions provider ISCO Industries already has several jobs lined up this year. “These supply water pipeline projects are all on a very fast timeline, and we have fusion machines up here and ready to go at a moment’s notice,” explained Brad Gray, the company’s representative in the Bakken.
ISCO uses high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe which is ideal for these high-pressure lines. It’s hydraulically smooth and fatigue and surge resistant. It is heat fused at the joints, which means the pipeline has a zero leak-rate.
The end of boom-time oil prices might be squeezing oil companies, but it also give them time to focus on other projects to increase their efficiency when oil prices find a floor.
For more information, contact Brad Gray by phone at 701-818-0819 or email Brad.Gray@isco-pipe.com. You can also visit the ISCO website.