MAY THE QUARTZ BE WITH YOU:

SIX GRANULAR FACTS

ABOUT FRAC SAND

WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING THE WELL TO PRODUCTION, NO PART LIVES IN ISOLATION—EVERY VARIABLE FROM THE OVERALL COMPLETION STRATEGY TO THE TOOLS, PROPPANT, FLUIDS, LOGISTICS ETC ALL COME TOGETHER TO AFFECT COMPLETION PERFORMANCE. SO YOU NEED A TEAM THAT KNOWS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THEIR IMMEDIATE JOB.

Take, for example, frac sand. Your well will use tons of the stuff. But what do you really know about this essential element in modern hydraulic fracturing? Here are a few facts.
1 NOT ALL
SAND IS FIT
FOR FLOW

Not just any sand can be frac sand. The ideal frac sand is made from high-purity crystalline silica (quartz) made from pure sandstone. More purity means more durability, and a nice round grain that’s crush-resistant.

2 THE VALUE
PROP IS MOSTLY
LOCATION

How much does frac sand cost? Logistics and quality make all the difference. “Northern White” can go for $50/ton in the Permian, with in-basin product as low as $12/ton. Prices are starting to plateau, since they’ve reached non-profitable levels from oversupply. We expect prices to drop in Q4, since overall activity is expected to decrease.

3 MESH
SIZE
MATTERS

Frac sand is sold based on quality and mesh size. Both API RP 19C and ISO 13503-2 lay out specs. Designations range from 20/40 (considered coarse) to 40/70, 70/140 and finer. People often refer to “100 mesh” as fine sand, but this can be a loose term. Some are even experimenting with 200 mesh, or going cheap with non-API specs.

4 A SINGLE FRAC
CAN TAKE 20+
MILLION POUNDS

Of course, many variables impact this number, but that’s correct—a single frac with long laterals and the right conditions can use more than 20 million pounds of frac sand. If you think that a six-foot-tall sandcastle weighs around 14,000 pounds, we’re talking more than 1,428 giant, man-sized sandcastles worth.

5 THERE’S
PLENTY OF
FRAC SAND

In total, U.S. frac sand capacity is anticipated to reach almost 300 million tons by 2020. Back in the year 2000, the global proppant market was only about 2 million tons. There were periodic shortages over the years, but massive expansion and a push to bring regional production brought sand across the land.

6 FRAC SAND
WAS BORN IN
THE BARNETT

The first modern, at-scale use of frac sand to prop up the cracks in a reservoir’s source rock was in the Barnett Shale, alongside horizontal drilling. In the Barnett’s 13 surrounding counties, production went from 220MMcf annually to 1,839MMcf annually—largely due to this practice.

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