Group: Pipelines, communication can reduce drilling traffic
Pipelines to reduce oil and gas truck traffic, and improving communications to deal with traffic that can’t be avoided, are among the means identified by a working group for addressing this issue related to energy development in Colorado.
The group, formed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Department of Transportation, issued a report late last year on the subject to fulfill one of several recommendations made in 2015 by a governor’s task force for addressing issues related to oil and gas development. Representatives from industry, local government, the trucking industry and state agencies held three day-long meetings last year to work on the recommendation.
It concluded that reducing truck traffic can be accomplished by installing temporary pipelines to transport water to well pads for drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and permanent lines for transporting oil and produced water. It also recommended use of centralized oil and gas production facilities that reduce the need for trucks to drive to multiple locations.
The group says implementing any of those actions “can make a significant difference in reducing truck traffic from oil and gas activity.” It said that in 2015, Anadarko Petroleum cut truck trips by roughly 1,500 per day through pipeline installations on the Front Range.
“Implementation of these activities is dependent on appropriate collaboration, communication, and upfront planning from all parties involved,” the report said.
But it acknowledged that can be difficult and made recommendations such as that local governments do advanced planning to suggest pipeline routes, develop fact sheets covering things like pipeline permitting requirements, and consider permitting incentives when approvals would cut truck trips.
Saying that some truck traffic is unavoidable, the group urged local governments, companies and other parties to work to better inform the public when significant traffic will impact them.
The report cites the example of Ursa Resources, which communicates with schools in western Garfield County so it can take steps such as minimizing or avoiding traffic impacts from oversize trucks when buses are picking up and dropping off kids.
Means of reducing impacts could include things like placing GPS units in trucks to monitor speed, and developing more on-site storage for water, sand and other resources, which provides more flexibility to time truck trips, the report says.
“The report is not intended to be prescriptive but instead contains a compilation of ideas and tools that can serve as a starting point for developing individual solutions,” it says.