The Positive Environmental and Cost Impact of Geosynthetics in Well Pad and Access Road Construction

The incorporation of high-strength geosynthetics provides numerous benefits to oil and gas producers and the engineering consultants tasked with designing their well pads and access roads. This paper will present examples of the positive environmental impact and cost benefit high-strength geosynthetics provide Whiting Petroleum Corporation in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana, along with an example of a gas well pad and access road in central Pennsylvania stabilized with the same geosynthetic. Subgrade stabilization is often required for access roads leading to the well pad and the well pad itself. Leading methods include significant depths of aggregate, chemical stabilization and geosynthetic-reinforced sections. General soft soil conditions and significant rain and snow events often require producers, engineering consultants and contractors to recommend additional aggregate to stabilize access roads and well pads. The need for additional aggregate contributes to higher traffic counts, increased CO₂ emissions and increased cost. Whiting Petroleum Corporation began exploring alternate means of stabilizing access roads and well pads in October of 2011. After reviewing various geosynthetic options and accompanying test data, the producer ultimately chose an innovative, high-strength, woven geotextile to stabilize their sites. This has led to the elimination of future maintenance and has required no additional aggregate over the life of the road and well pad. This paper will present both laboratory and full-scale test data on the performance of this innovative high-strength geosynthetic. In addition, detailed cost savings associated with eliminating additional aggregate requirements will be presented along with the environmental impact of eliminating additional aggregate hauling, placement and compaction. Case studies will be included along with photographs of well pad sites constructed both with and without this geosynthetic.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 576-590
  • Monograph Title: Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01535274
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413654
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2014 3:01PM