Demand for frac tanks is growing and we believe that a major reason for the increase is the service that comes along with a boom in the demand and desire for exploring the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale. In order to crack the Marcellus Shale, over one mile beneath Pennsylvania and other parts of our Appalachian region, that is so abundant in gas and natural gas liquids, drilling companies use a method called hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, are terms used to describe the process used to “frac” Marcellus Shale gas wells. To release methane from the shale, high pressure is used to crack the shale formation. While there are alternatives to water for fracking gas wells, such as nitrogen, production companies prefer to use water, since significantly higher hydraulic pressures can be created and it is a generally less expensive process. Some reports indicate these pressures can reach as high as 10,000 to 15,000 pounds per square inch. Each Marcellus well frack job calls for 3 to 8 million gallons of water or recycled wastewater. With that much waste water, the frac trucks for sale chosen to move that wastewater becomes a very intricate decision process. But get this, since many of the latest well pads have 8 wells, that brings the total requirement up to 24 to 64 million gallons for one well pad. Imagine how many frac trucks and vacuum trucks are needed to move 64 million gallons of water.
These huge volumes of water are one of the reasons that vacuum trucks and temporary pipelines have become common sights around the Marcellus Shale regions over the past several years. These frac trucks for sale carry approximately 4,000 gallons each and are often marked with “Residual Waste” for the drilling wastewater they haul that comes back out of a Marcellus well following fracking. This wastewater can easily be 5-times saltier than ocean water, while also containing toxic volatile organic compounds and fracking chemicals. These frac trucks must be large, powerful, and most importantly, safe so that the transported hazardous material is properly removed and disposed of in its entirety.
Environmental Protection Departments in the region will require that drilling companies obtain approved Water Management Plans. 29 Marcellus Shale drilling companies in the 10-county area making up the SW Region of Pennsylvania, have approved water management plans for withdrawals totaling 48.5 million gallons of water through mid-2014. While drillers are exempt from many environmental laws, they must comply with the Clean Streams Law. These laws and the regulations that drillers will be given for the clean up process will drive the growth and need for frac trucks for years to come, if natural gas becomes this country’s next great hope for energy.