When it comes to meeting the needs of the oil and gas industry, you need the best possible equipment. Here are some free tips and excavation equipment picks to keep your small business successful.


Building ice roads in Alaska and daylighting pipelines in Texas might have little in common, except a need for the best possible equipment.

For Richard Young, owner of Hydro Spy LLC in Pasadena, Texas, the name says it all. When it comes to meeting the needs of the oil and gas industry in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Alabama, a hard-working hydroexcavator tops the list. 

1. Hydroexcavators

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“It’s safe, fast and nondestructive,” Young says of his hydroexcavator fleet. Dump trucks also make Young’s top five equipment list. “They’re very useful for backfilling the trenches we make with the hydroexcavators.” Skid-steers, water trucks and air compressors top off his equipment list. 

Tackle your toughest and most challenging jobs while still providing safe, damage-free excavation with these hydroexcavators: 

  • The HV-55 HydroVax from GapVax is constructed of ASTM A572-Grade 50 steel, and features a 12 1/2-cubic-yard debris body. Water tank options range from 400 to 1,400 gallons.
  • The Aquatech F-10 from Hi-Vac has a 180-degree, front-mounted rotating reel designed and engineered for up to 800 feet of 1-inch hose. The top-loading boom powers up and down and extends to 26 feet from the pivot point.
  • Generation 2 vacuum excavators with Tier IV engines from McLaughlin feature a three-stage filtration system for both wet and dry vacuum excavation.
  • The Presvac Hydrovac is designed for cold-weather operation. It features low point drains, heated cabinets and a diesel-fired boiler (440,000, 700,000 or 980,000 Btu/hr).
  • The HX-12 hydroexcavator from Ramvac has an all-weather environmental enclosure that protects the water system from the elements. With an overall length of 36 feet, the maneuverable unit has hydrostatic drive and delivers 4,400 cfm. Seven different blower options are available.
  • The Soil Surgeon hydroexcavating attachment is designed to fit any sewer combination truck equipped with a telescopic 6- or 8-inch boom. The tool has a 1-inch water connection.
  • The Mud Dog 1600 vacuum/hydroexcavator combo from Super Products features a 16-cubic-yard debris body, standard 1,500-gallon water capacity and a rear-mounted boom that offers 335-degree rotation, 27-foot reach and upward/downward pivot.
  • Wash/Hydroexcavator tanks from Camex Equipment handle up to 3,405 gallons, with a 1,000-gallon compartment for water and the other compartment at 2,405 gallons plus 3 percent for debris, complete with one antisurge baffle mounted on a reinforcing pad.
  • The F4 hydrovac unit from Tornado Hydrovacs carries 13 cubic yards of mud and more than 2,000 gallons of freshwater.
  • The HV-145 from Transway Systems is an all-season hydroexcavator that operates at less than 85 dBA. It features a 6,400 cfm, 27-inch Hg high vacuum blower with direct-drive transfer case.
  • The X-Cavator from Vac-Con is available in configurations from 5- to 16-cubic-yard capacities, with hydrostatically driven three-stage centrifugal compressors. A variety of hydrostatically or mechanically driven positive-displacement blowers up to 28-inches Hg are available.
  • The Vacall AllExcavate hydroexcavation truck has a high-dump option that allows the operator to use a wireless remote control to raise the debris tank 76 inches and shift the tank horizontally 21 inches beyond the rear bumper, enabling it to dump debris into roll-off and dewatering containers.
  • The HXX Hydro-Excavator from Vactor Manufacturing provides a platform for safe, easy potholing, waterline repair, slot trenching, directional drilling, sign and pole installation, pipe and line installation and other large-volume excavation.
  • The POWERVAC hydro/vac unit from Vacuum Sales Inc. can be used in wet or dry environments for hazardous and nonhazardous applications. It features positive displacement high vacuum blowers, capacity to 4,600 cfm, continuous vacuum to 28.5 Hg and pressure unloading. 

2. Dump trucks/trailers

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Eric Wieman, project manager with Peak Oilfield Service Co. in Anchorage, Alaska, says the demanding work of ice-road construction requires a full complement of equipment. “You have to have your grader and your haul trucks, whether they’re water trucks, a rock truck or a Maxihaul-type truck.” 

Whether you’re transporting sand, gravel and dirt or backfilling trenches made with hydroexcavators, here are some options to consider for your next dump truck/trailer purchase: 

  • The 122SD industrial dump-body truck from Freightliner Trucks features engine choices to 600 hp, 2,050 ft-lbs of torque and GVWR up to 160,000 pounds.
  • The side-dump trunnion-mounted trailer from Jet Company maintains a constant tub speed throughout the dumping cycle for trailer stability.
  • The 5/6 Yard Box Dump Body from Ledwell has a 50-degree dump angle and features a hauling capacity of 5 to 6 cubic yards, side height of 24 inches, tailgate height of 31 inches, Pintle hitch and a front-mount 18-ton telescopic hoist.
  • The Macsimizer Half Round dump trailer from MAC Trailer is designed with a radius bulkhead that offers a low-profile front end complete with a lower center of gravity.
  • The F-Series articulated hauler from Volvo Construction Equipment features four models, ranging in capacity from the 26.5-ton A25F to the 43-ton A40F. 

3. Graders

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Streamline your operations with a top-notch grader or grader attachment. From grading access roads and well pads to leveling out gravel, sand and rock, a quality grader will get the job done. Check out these options that earn high marks: 

  • Grade Blades from Hall’s Grade Blade come in six sizes to fit any brand of backhoe-loader or mini-excavator, and four sizes for 9-ton excavators and larger.
  • The SitePro SSGB-8A skid-steer grader blade from Worksaver turns a skid-steer into a high-performance grading machine for subgrading and asphalt preparation. 

4. Excavators

Wieman says building ice roads and providing oil field support on the North Slope occasionally calls for an excavator in the winter, although they are primarily used for civil work during the summer months. 

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From Prudhoe Bay to Petersburg, the company’s civil technologies include engineering, project management and logistical support to non-traditional construction. “Having a dozer and an excavator is pretty important,” Wieman says. 

Here are some diggers that top our list: 

  • The DX225LC-3 excavator from Doosan Infracore America Corp. has a 167 hp engine. Four power modes provide optimum fuel for heavy-duty digging, breaking, shearing and lifting.
  • The EX1200-6 excavator from Hitachi is available in both front-shovel and backhoe configurations, and features swing/boom priority selection mode and backhoe boom and arm geometry.
  • The R380LC-9A excavator from Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas has a low-emission, low-noise, 290 hp Cummins QSL9 Interim Tier 4/Stage IIIB engine with Power, Standard and Economy job modes
  • TMX mini-excavators from Innovative Equipment can be hooked behind a standard 1/2-ton pickup, van or light-duty tow vehicle. Zero-turn technology provides access in tight locations.
  • The 81,800-pound SK350LC crawler excavator from Kobelco Construction Machinery USA features a fuel-efficient 270 hp, Tier IV HINO engine and a hydraulic system that reduces energy loss.
  • The 350Z NXT2 zero-tail-swing compact excavator from Mustang is equipped with a 23.9 hp electronically controlled Yanmar Tier IV emissions-compliant diesel engine that uses 20 percent less fuel than the previous model. 

5. Skid-steers/loaders

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Rating his ice-road equipment needs along the North Slope in Prudhoe Bay, Wieman says loaders, graders and haul trucks top the list. 

If you’re in the marketplace for a new earthmover, check out these options: 

  • The S850 M-Series loader from Bobcat has a rated operating capacity of 3,875 pounds and an operating weight of 10,008 pounds.
  • The V270 GEN:2 vertical-lift skid loader from Gehl features a Yanmar 72 hp diesel engine, rated operating capacity of 2,700 pounds and approximately 10 feet, 10 inches of lift height.
  • The 8-foot-tall 304K compact wheel loader from John Deere is designed for low-clearance applications. The 64 hp, 48 kW loader has an Interim Tier 4 diesel engine and a two-speed transmission with a top speed of 12 mph.
  • Pipe Grapple Forks from Werk-Brau Co. are made for bulk handling long pipe, as well as wide- and small-diameter poles/pipes. They also come with adjustable fork tines for added control.
  • The Tier 4-compliant S220R-1 skid-steer loader from Yanmar America Corp. features a spacious operator’s cab, 70.7 hp Yanmar diesel engine and rated operating capacity of 2,200 pounds. 

For complete product listings and manufacturer contact information, visit www.gomcmag.com/editorial/2013/12/excavation_and_hydroexcavation_equipment.


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