In an attempt to address some of the concerns around infrastructure impacts from oil and gas growth, the West Texas Energy Consortium has partnered with industry leaders to form the Permian Road Safety Coalition (PRSC). The PRSC was established as an innovative collaboration of cross-industry efforts with oil and gas operators, service companies, transporation companies, government organizations and non-government organizations. The PRSC brings together members’ knowledge, data, technology, and global networks to focus on initiatives that will make the greatest impact improving road safety in local communities. As a founding member and lead facilitator of the Permian Road Safety Coalition, WTxEC supports the efforts of the PRSC to:
- Leverage member companies’ collective intellectual expertise to advance best practices for companies and their fleets in the region.
- Address strategic road safety challenges in select locations by working with local government and stakeholders.
- Identify actionable insights through data collection and management to advance innovative solutions.
- Collaborate with the broader road safety community to be the leading voice for the private sector.
Some might wonder - why would a collaborative like this be needed? It requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips to deliver the fluids needed to hydraulically fracture a single horizontal well. Other drilling techniques, such as those used on vertical wells, need one-third to one-half as many trips. These numbers don’t include the number of trucks it takes to move equipment, transport oil to refineries, or complete the many other processes associated with oil and gas production. No matter how you slice it, this means heavy traffic on West Texas roads in weight and volume. Couple this with the influx of population related to strong economic growth and roadways across the region are becoming busier by the day. the safety and maintenance of our roads have a huge impact on economic success in West Texas.
In November 2014, voters passed Proposition 1 to divert a portion of revenue in the Rainy Day Fund (Economic Stabilization Fund) to the State Highway Department for building and maintenance. While the funding for West Texas communities from these two initiatives won’t solve infrastructure issues in the region entirely, in combination with partnership and innovation, it’s a step in the right direction. Finally, TxDOT recently launched the Texas Transportation Plan 2040, looking at the future needs of Texas roads and other means of transit; the final release of TxDOT's report is available on the Studies & Reports page. With an additional measure passed in November 2015 to allocate $2.5 billion from sales and use tax annually to the highway fund, local and state legislators are a little closer to finding ways to close the gap.
Not only are many communities in West Texas experiencing an increased need for investment in surface roads, the region is also witnessing a number of investments in other types of infrastructure such as rail and pipelines. The BridgeTex pipeline project came on line in 2014 and is just one of many pipeline projects in West Texas. The project will expand crude oil movement from Colorado City into Houston area refineries, and increase the region’s distribution capacity by an initial 278,000 barrels per day.
Major rail investments are also ongoing in Sweetwater, Big Spring, San Angelo, and elsewhere. When pipeline capacity can’t keep up with crude oil production, companies begin looking for alternatives to move product into refineries. Rail line expansions around West Texas are indicative of a growing need to meet industry demand.
To learn more about the movement of crude oil and other energy products visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration and use the map below to track where products are going and how they’re getting there.