BNSF Railway is developing a new support facility for the revitalized energy sector in Texas, which will include improvements to an existing rail yard and mainline tracks.
The logistics center is located at a retired, 75-acre rail yard in Sweetwater and is scheduled to be operational by the summer, the company said last month.
The facility has lay-down space for specialty sand, aggregate, pipe, clay, barite and other materials required to drill for shale oil and gas in the Permian Basin and Cline Shale formations. Extracting fossil fuels from shale formations requires special drilling techniques, technology and materials to separate the liquid and gas from the minerals and flow them to the well head.
The privately held railroad said it will invest $28 million in the facility, which will also benefit agriculture shippers.
Cape & Son, a feed distributor, is expanding operations to accommodate grain unit trains as part of the new development. The project will realign some of the existing track to allow for loading of 110-car grain unit trains at Cape's Sweetwater facility, which also ships cotton and livestock.
The BNSF Sweetwater expansion will result in 40,000 feet of new tracks, upgrading of the yard track and improving the branch line that serves Central Texas.
"The new facility means that Sweetwater will serve as a transportation hub for the entire region as the new shales of play continue producing new wells with the bright future of an estimated 30 billion barrels of recoverable oil in this part of Texas," Ken Becker, executive director of the Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development, said in the BNSF statement.
The Union Pacific Railroad last month announced the opening of a similar energy support facility in Odessa, Texas.