Shale Plays Boost Track Trencher Market

May 2012, Vol. 67 No. 5
A Tesmec trencher on a shale project in the Northeast.

Equipment, support growth
Blankenship explained that “we have seen a multiple of units being utilized in the shale plays throughout North America. Throughout the last year we have experienced a high level of short term and long term rental contracts from our factory-owned and supported rental fleet consisting of chain machines, saws, bucket wheels and rock machines. However, as the level of need for trenchers has increased and the market has continued to grow, we have begun to see significantly increased levels of sales throughout the last three quarters.”

Blankenship said for Marcellus shale, Tesmec is selling and renting machines equipped to dig eight-feet deep at widths ranging from 42 to 46 inches.

In the Bakken area, sales and rentals are for Model 1075 bucket wheel machines which cut depths six to 8 feet and widths of 28 to 36 inches. At Eagle Ford, trench depths are from six to 8 feet with widths 18 to 36 inches.

“In the Bakken shale,” he continued, “Tesmec has had tremendous success with bucket wheel machines, particularly the Model 1075. In the Marcellus shale we have M3 and M5 high-chain pull mechanical machines. Then in the Eagle Ford shale, we have seen a mixture of Tesmec 1075 and 1175 bucket wheel machines, and high-speed hydrostatic 1100 and 1150 chain trenchers and M3 and M5 chain pull mechanical machines.”

With increased utilization of trencher fleets and competitive machines, Blankenship said Tesmec has experienced increased demand for parts and service.

Tesmec opened a new facility in Troy, PA, to satisfy increased demand for service calls.

“We also have successfully utilized factory service capabilities and increased activity in the shale plays,” Blankenship said. “Tesmec provides service for all regions of North America through our factory service department dispatched out of corporate headquarters in Alvarado, TX. We have added to our overall head count to support our business in Marcellus shale and as the Utica area begins to develop, we plan to add more employees to service both shale plays.”

Blankenship said Tesmec perceives shale play activity in North America to be in its infant stage and expects a trend for increased activity in the coming years.