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Delaware Basin Activity Keeps Frack Sand Trains Rolling

Despite depressed commodity prices, demand for proppant sand among Delaware Basin producers is strong, as evidenced by the recent arrival of what is said to be the largest frack sand unit train ever in North America at a Loving, NM, area terminal.

Rangeland Energy said its RIO Hub in Loving recently received a 150-car unit train carrying 16,500 tons, or 33 million pounds, of frack sand. The train was pulled by five diesel locomotives and originated in Ottawa, IL. BNSF Railway Co. operated the train until it reached Clovis, NM, where operations were handed off to short-line railway partner Southwestern Railroad Inc. for delivery to the RIO Hub.

The unit train arrived Oct. 2 and was unloaded within 22 hours. The sand was stored at the RIO Hub and will supply an operator with a large quantity of sand for high-volume frack jobs in the Delaware Basin. Demand for sand in the Delaware Basin remains high, according to Rangeland.

"Despite the current pricing environment, the Delaware Basin remains an economic play, and producers operating in the region continue to require increasingly large volumes of frack sand to drill and complete their wells," said Rangeland COO Steve Broker. "We expect sand volumes to continue to increase as operators drill longer wells and complete larger fracks."

Development of Rangeland's terminal near Loving began in 2013 (see Shale DailyMarch 21, 2013). Strong activity in the Delaware basin has also spawned multiple infrastructure projects to handle oil and natural gas (see Shale DailySept. 30Sept. 9Sept. 1Aug. 5).

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