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RIO hub sees first deliveries of frac sand

LOVING >> Last week, Rangeland Energy hit its first big milestone as the first train carrying an important oil field commodity rolled through the hub.

The milestone occurs six months after the beginning of construction on it’s RIO hub, which is located north of Loving.

“The most significant milestone to date is we received our first unit train of sand last week,” said Rangeland CEO Christopher Keene. “Right now we are working with southwestern rail, which is in Southeastern New Mexico, and we’ve had a second (train) this week and the third one is on the way.”

Many more trains, some with as many as 80 to 100 cars carrying nothing but frac sand, can be expected to make their way through the hub Keene said since a portion of the track system has been completed.

The RIO System — Rangeland Integrated Oil System — includes the 300-acre rail terminal that currently has around 20,000 feet of rail laid with an additional 25,000 feet of track being planned. Eventually seven miles of rail will fill the site, said Keene.

“We are hoping to see a steady stream but it may be a little sporadic until the full build out is complete around July of this year,” Keene said. “The significance of that, it’s a much more efficient way of moving commodities by rail because you unload all 80 to 100 cars of that at the supply point, and it goes nonstop to the delivery point, in this case RIO in Loving.”

Come July the hub will continue to expand as Keene said that construction of an additional five silos will begin.

A single silo has been built on the location. Each silo can hold up to 4,500 tons of sand Keene said, greatly increasing the amount of material available to the still booming oil and gas production industry.

And despite the drop of the price of oil, Keene said Rangeland Energy is still excited about the economic opportunities available in the Delaware Basin.

“The short answer is we are still bullish on the development, and view the hub as an asset,” Keene said. “We’re an infrastructure company and we invest in large scale facilities that will be alive and well fifty years from now, still moving commodity whether its oil going out or sand coming in.”

And because the company is planning to be in the area long-term, Keene said they’ve taken a vested interest in the communities of Loving and Carlsbad.

Keene said that they hope to be an active presence in the community.

“We have become an active member of the council led by the area supervisor station there in Loving, but not only because we want to understand what’s going on in that area and participate but we recognize that the area might have questions of us and we’d like to be accessible.”

Rangeland Energy’s plan for the RIO system includes eventually connecting it to the rest of the system including a pipeline that will enable transportation of product to end markets such as refineries.

Jessica Onsurez can be reached at 575-628-5530.

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©2015 the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.)

Visit the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.) at www.currentargus.com

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