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Peak Sand?

Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby Oilguy » Tue 25 Nov 2014, 21:07:34

When it takes up to four million pounds of sand to frack a single well, it’s no wonder that demand is outpacing supply and frack sand producers are becoming the biggest behind-the-scenes beneficiaries of the American oil and gas boom.

Demand is exploding for “frac sand”--a durable, high-purity quartz sand used to help produce petroleum fluids and prop up man-made fractures in shale rock formations through which oil and gas flows—turning this segment into the top driver of value in the shale revolution.

“One of the major players in Eagle Ford is saying they’re short 6 million tons of 100 mesh alone in 2014 and they don’t know where to get it. And that’s just one player,” Rasool Mohammad, President and CEO of Select Sands Corporation told Oilprice.com.

Frack sand exponentially increases the return on investment for a well, and oil and gas companies are expected to use some 95 billion pounds of frack sand this year, up nearly 30% from 2013 and up 50% from forecasts made just last year.

Pushing demand up is the trend for wider, shorter fracs, which require twice as much sand. The practice of downspacing—or decreasing the space between wells—means a dramatic increase in the amount of frac sand used. The industry has gone from drilling four wells per square mile to up to 16 using shorter, wider fracs. In the process, they have found that the more tightly spaced wells do not reduce production from surrounding wells.

This all puts frac sand in the drivers’ seat of the next phase of the American oil boom, and it’s a commodity that has already seen its price increase up to 20% over the past year alone.

Frac sand is poised for even more significant gains over the immediate term, with long-term contracts locking in a lucrative future as exploration and production companies experiment with using even more sand per well.

Pioneer Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:PXD) says the output of wells is up to 30% higher when they are blasted with more sand.

Citing RBC Capital Markets, The Wall Street Journal noted that approximately one-fifth of onshore wells are now being fracked with extra sand, while the trend could spread to 80% of all shale wells.

Oilfield services giants such as Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL) and Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI) are stockpiling sand now, hoping to shield themselves from rising costs of the high-demand product, according to a recent Reuters report. They’re also buying more sand under contract—a trend that will lead to more long-term contracts and a longer-term boost for frac sand producers.

In this environment, the new game is about quality and location.

Frac sand extraction could spread to a dozen US states that have largely untapped sand deposits, but the biggest winners will be the biggest deposits that are positioned closest to major shale plays such as Eagle Ford, the Permian Basin, Barnett, Haynesville and the Tuscaloosa marine shale play.

The state of Wisconsin has been a major frac sand venue, with over 100 sand mines, loading and processing facilities permitted as of 2013, compared to only five sand mines and five processing plants in 2010.

But with the surge in demand for this product, companies are looking a bit closer to shale center to cut down on transportation costs and improve the bottom line.

One of the hottest new frac sand venues is in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, which is not only closer by half to the major shale plays, saving at least 25% per ton on transportation costs, but also allows for year-round production that will fill the gap in shortages when winter prevents mining in northern states.

“In the southern US, we can operate year round, so there is no fear of a polar vortex like that we saw last year with some other producers,” says Mohammad of Select Sands (TSX.V:SNS).

Chicago-based consulting company Professional Logistics Group Inc. found in 2012 that transportation represented 58% of the cost of frac sand, while Select Sands (TSX.V:SNS), estimates the costs between 66-75% today.

The competition is stiff, but this game is still unfolding, while increased demand is reshaping the playing field.

US Silica Holdings Inc. says demand for its own volumes of sand could double or triple in the next five years, and its three publicly-traded rivals—Emerge Energy Services (NYSE:EMES), Fairmount Santrol (NYSE:FMSA) and Hi-Crush Partners (NYSE:HCLP), have also made strong Wall Street debuts over the past two years.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Follow-The-Sand-To-The-Real-Fracking-Boom.html

By. James Stafford of Oilprice.com
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Re: Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby coffeeguyzz » Tue 25 Nov 2014, 21:50:36

As off the charts bullish as this article is regarding the demand for frac sand, it may yet underestimate the next few years' useage as more info emerges from EOG's completions in the Eagle Ford.
This past summer, EOG had at least one monster well with 24 hr IP of 8,000boepd. The relatively short lateral used an almost unbelievable 16,000,000 lbs. of sand.
At the company's 3rd quarter conference call a few weeks back, the CEO said their new, experimental, high density frac'd wells are producing 39% more hydrocarbons than their peers (which are among the highest producers in the industry already).
Future production increases, along with MUCH higher use of frac sand seems a virtual certainty.
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Re: Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby dinopello » Tue 25 Nov 2014, 23:55:47

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Re: Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 26 Nov 2014, 00:47:07

I figured a ton of sand per 25 barrels = 100 pounds of sand per barrel.

Sand is $50 per ton ==> $2 per barrel.

In Alberta, sand is a waste product of oil production.
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Re: Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby sparky » Wed 26 Nov 2014, 07:01:56

.
had the same though but it will not fly , the sand is to be put back for re-growth ,
much improved by the removal of this horrible tar stuff
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Re: Follow The Sand To The Real Fracking Boom

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 26 Nov 2014, 09:29:46

"Sand is $50 per ton ==> $2 per barrel". And pumping a 250,000# (125 tons) frac stage was costing about $150k to $250K. So pumping a ton of sand cost between $1,200 and $2,000 per ton. So the sand on a well with 24 frac stages cost $150,000. The pumping service would cost $3.6 million to $6 million.

In the frac'ng biz sand is still "dirt cheap". LOL. But some good news: the lower the oil price the less Halliburton et al can charge for pumping services. During the early shale days H et al were charging many times what pumping service cost not that many years earlier.
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Peak Sand?

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 23 Jun 2016, 18:46:56

The World’s Disappearing Sand

… Sand is the thing modern cities are made of. Pretty much every apartment block, office tower and shopping mall from Beijing to Lagos, Nigeria, is made at least partly with concrete, which is basically just sand and gravel stuck together with cement. Every yard of asphalt road that connects all those buildings is also made with sand. So is every window in every one of those buildings.

Sand is the essential ingredient that makes modern life possible. And we are starting to run out.

That’s mainly because the number and size of cities is exploding, especially in the developing world.

…From 2011 to 2013, China used more cement than the United States used in the entire 20th century.

To build those cities, people are pulling untold amounts of sand out of the ground. Usable sand is a finite resource. Desert sand, shaped more by wind than by water, generally doesn’t work for construction. To get the sand we need, we are stripping riverbeds, floodplains and beaches.

… In India, river sand mining is disrupting ecosystems, killing countless fish and birds. In Indonesia, some two dozen small islands are believed to have disappeared since 2005 because of sand mining. In Vietnam, miners have torn up hundreds of acres of forest to get at the sandy soil underneath.

Sand miners have damaged coral reefs in Kenya and undermined bridges in Liberia and Nigeria. Environmentalists tie sand dredging in San Francisco Bay to the erosion of nearby beaches.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/opini ... .html?_r=0
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Poordogabone » Thu 23 Jun 2016, 23:31:15

I was surprised to find that desert sand is not suitable for making concrete.

Sea and desert sands seldom satisfy the requirements of traditional specifications for use as a construction material, especially in their untreated state.

Desert sand grains are finer and smoother so their surface chemistry would not be able to offer sufficient number of multi-directional chemical linkages. If their grain size is too small, the slurry slip and the concrete would have poor strength. Desert sands possess an open structure, and there is little interlock between sand grains. If this sand is kept dry, these bonding bridges provide considerable bearing strength. But if the sand becomes wet, the bridges soften and when overloaded, the bridges break and collapse.

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-desert-sand-not-used-for-construction#MoreAnswers

But then Donald Rumsfeld would say: you don't make concrete with the sand that you want but with the sand that you have.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 23 Jun 2016, 23:49:12

There will always be usable sand available just like oil. It just won't be the easy cheap sand. LOL. But it's true: during Houston's boom in the late 70's state highway construction came to a complete halt. State law allowed only $X/ton to be paid for sand. But the housing boom here pushed it above that level. I watched a section of a highway I would have commuted down sit there stalled for 3 years.

BTW the real limiting factor isn't the price of the sand but the distance it has to be hauled. The Sahara sand might be perfect for cement but even if it were free it would not be economical to pay for hauling it more then a few hundred miles.

IOW sand is not f*cking wheat or oil. LOL.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 24 Jun 2016, 05:53:53

I will add the formula for concrete has several variables, the type of cement the size of the gravel used and the type of sand used being just three of them.

In fact in the USA there has been a big push for the use of Slag Cement instead of Portland Cement. Portland Cement is manufactured in a process developed in the 1800's that releases a lot of CO2 per ton of final product.

Before Portland Cement was developed there were several alternatives the two most popular being Pozzolan Cement and Slag Cement. Pozzolan in the 1800's used the same formula as Ancient Rome which had been passed down for two thousand years. Modern Pozzolan Cement is a blend of traditional Pozzolan with Portland or Slag cement to achieve a similar formula result as cheaply as possible.

The town I grew up in had one major local employer, a Portland Cement producer, many of my relatives worked there and I applied there myself. I find the fact that we are reverting to 1800's type Cement quite an interesting development. In any case my point is if they need to alter the formula for common concrete to make use of Sarah Dessert type sand they will not hesitate to do so, though ROCKMAN is correct, transportation costs for a bulk commodity like sand are pretty significant.

http://www.slagcement.org/
Slag cement, or ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS), has been used in concrete projects in the United States for over a century. Earlier usage of slag cement in Europe and elsewhere demonstrates that long-term concrete performance is enhanced in many ways. Based on these early experiences, modern designers have found that these improved durability characteristics help further reduce life-cycle costs, lower maintenance costs and makes concrete more sustainable.



http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary. ... lan+Cement

Modern Pozzolan vs Roman,
Pozzolan Cement

a general name for a group of cements containing not less than 20 percent active mineral additives. The term “pozzolan cement” is derived from the name of a friable volcanic rock—pozzolana—used in ancient Rome as an additive to lime in the production of hydraulic cement.

In modern construction, the major type of pozzolan cement is portland-pozzolan cement, produced by grinding together portland cement clinker (60–80 percent), an active mineral additive (20–40 percent), and a small amount of gypsum. It differs from ordinary portland cement in its higher resistance to corrosion (especially in soft or sulfate waters), reduced rate of hardening, and lower frost resistance. Pozzolan cement is used mainly to produce concretes used in underwater and underground structures.

pozzolan cement
Pozzolan interground with lime; a natural cement used in ancient times.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 24 Jun 2016, 19:48:35

Fascinating, I knew there were hydraulic and Portland Cement, but I never heard of Slag Cement. Hard to believe it has been around for a century but doesn't seem to be used around the Toledo area.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Synapsid » Fri 24 Jun 2016, 20:05:48

C'mon folks:

This is PeakOIL.com. What about OIL?

Fracking uses great volumes of sand. Where does that sand come from? Well, a good deal of it comes from the Upper Midwest, and it is Palaeozoic sandstones, the same that Corning has been using for decades in the manufacture of glass. These are pure quartz, and beautifully cross-bedded, and they are great for glass making, and fracking.

That said, uses in manufacture of cement are, I would suggest, worthy of attention because of the large amounts of CO2 released in the process. The limestone needed is the CO2 source.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Fri 24 Jun 2016, 20:19:47

The issue is a bit like peak phosphate, at least regarding the quality of sand required for glassmaking, 99.9+% pure silica, it is becoming rare, but there are a few sites around the world with more than 100 years worth available. My thoughts are that the energy embedded in the final product will become too expensive before rarity of specific physical common inputs.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Jibdul » Tue 28 Jun 2016, 03:59:24

Well, there's probably already peak wage slavery. They are even testing 'guaranteed income', probably for that kind of thing and the results that come of it and welfare poverty.

So maybe then we won't need all that peak other stuff. We'll just eat 'weeds', hang out on beach sand and go swimming, and learn stuff like beekeeping and old natural ways that we've forgotten in the relative idiocies of our domestication.

And, too, maybe we could plunder the canned-air highrises, that some of us 'Mr. Andersons' used to work in as office drones, for their materials. Fuck concrete and specialized sand. As long as we have beach sand.

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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 28 Jun 2016, 06:46:06

Turns out the NYT is late to the party, I finally had a chance to do some digging (HA!) and this is what I quickly found, from 2013.

Our civilization is literally built on sand. People have used it for construction since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. In the 15th century, an Italian artisan figured out how to turn sand into transparent glass, which made possible the microscopes, telescopes, and other technologies that helped drive the Renaissance’s scientific revolution (also, affordable windows). Sand of various kinds is an essential ingredient in detergents, cosmetics, toothpaste, solar panels, silicon chips, and especially buildings; every concrete structure is basically tons of sand and gravel glued together with cement.

Sand—small, loose grains of rock and other hard stuff—can be made by glaciers grinding up stones, by oceans degrading seashells, even by volcanic lava chilling and shattering upon contact with air. But nearly 70 percent of all sand grains on Earth are quartz, formed by weathering. Time and the elements eat away at rock, above and below the ground, grinding off grains. Rivers carry countless tons of those grains far and wide, accumulating them in their beds, on their banks, and at the places where they meet the sea.

Apart from water and air, humble sand is the natural resource most consumed by human beings. People use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare. (Desert sand generally doesn’t work for construction; shaped by wind rather than water, desert grains are too round to bind together well.) And the amount of sand being mined is increasing exponentially.

Though the supply might seem endless, sand is a finite resource like any other. The worldwide construction boom of recent years—all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Beijing—is devouring unprecedented quantities; extracting it is a $70 billion industry. In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs.

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/illegal-sand-mining/
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Tue 28 Jun 2016, 07:30:14

Because we have the best superfine white silica. It comes from the east coast of Cape York, cape Flattery mine & Bundaberg.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Tue 28 Jun 2016, 14:55:21

A couple of points. Some rocks get broken down to sand ,others become clay. It is a matter of grain size. When it comes to defining sand, it is the particles that fit through a quarter inch screen and won't go through a #200 screen. A #200 screen has 200 fine wires per inch each way and the holes between the wires measure just .0029 inches or .07366 millimeters.
What falls or can be washed through those small holes is silt or clay and interferes with the cements (of whatever type) ability to bond the stones /gravel and sand together. A specification sand for concrete or asphalt paving will have five percent or less passing the #200.
What is retained on the quarter inch screen is stone and that maybe gravel stone polished round by water or crushed rock with sharp fractured faces. High strength concrete or pavements use crushed rock or crushed gravel stone as the fractured faces increase the ultimate yield strength of the product.
You can make sand by crushing rock fine enough but you have to screen out or wash out stone dust finer the #200 and in most locations natural sand deposits are still cheaper.
Hot mix pavements today often use recycled pavement that has been ground off the old road or crushed excavated pavement , and that can be half of the new mix with only a very small amount of new sand added along with enough new crushed stone and liquid asphalt cement to get to the desired proportions.
Most of your concrete mixes vary around 50% stone 50% sand plus or minus ten percent each way. The cements today often have a high portion of fly ash in them and along with chemical additives called super plasticizers and have obtained strengths and work-ability unimaginable when I started in the industry in 1975.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 28 Jun 2016, 15:51:54

vtsnowedin wrote:A couple of points. Some rocks get broken down to sand ,others become clay. It is a matter of grain size. When it comes to defining sand, it is the particles that fit through a quarter inch screen and won't go through a #200 screen. A #200 screen has 200 fine wires per inch each way and the holes between the wires measure just .0029 inches or .07366 millimeters.
What falls or can be washed through those small holes is silt or clay and interferes with the cements (of whatever type) ability to bond the stones /gravel and sand together. A specification sand for concrete or asphalt paving will have five percent or less passing the #200.
What is retained on the quarter inch screen is stone and that maybe gravel stone polished round by water or crushed rock with sharp fractured faces. High strength concrete or pavements use crushed rock or crushed gravel stone as the fractured faces increase the ultimate yield strength of the product.
You can make sand by crushing rock fine enough but you have to screen out or wash out stone dust finer the #200 and in most locations natural sand deposits are still cheaper.
Hot mix pavements today often use recycled pavement that has been ground off the old road or crushed excavated pavement , and that can be half of the new mix with only a very small amount of new sand added along with enough new crushed stone and liquid asphalt cement to get to the desired proportions.
Most of your concrete mixes vary around 50% stone 50% sand plus or minus ten percent each way. The cements today often have a high portion of fly ash in them and along with chemical additives called super plasticizers and have obtained strengths and work-ability unimaginable when I started in the industry in 1975.


Thanks for the details, in my former job I would excavate and emplace precast concrete boxes with a flatbed truck mounted crane. Most of the stuff I dealt with was wire mesh reinforced with fiberglass strand in the mix as additional strengthening. The gravel in the mix has on the low end of the size spectrum and we could always tell the difference between the guys who cared and those who didn't when casting based on the size of the bubbles in the mix. The two main contractors who made the vaults we dealt with used vibrating rams to agitate the bubbles out of the wet mix in the molds and the better workers left only tiny bubbles behind in the finished castings.

So question definitely sand related, if I were to buy some bulk fill sand what screened size would you recommend? I had some trees removed and as the unground portions of the stump have decayed I now have a couple craters in my yard I need to peel the sod off of, fill and replace the sod. I took care of one last year with bag sand, but it was the hole from a relatively small tree, the remaining locations need around a yard of fill dirt each.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 29 Jun 2016, 02:23:44

Tanada wrote:
So question definitely sand related, if I were to buy some bulk fill sand what screened size would you recommend? I had some trees removed and as the unground portions of the stump have decayed I now have a couple craters in my yard I need to peel the sod off of, fill and replace the sod. I took care of one last year with bag sand, but it was the hole from a relatively small tree, the remaining locations need around a yard of fill dirt each.

Un screened "bank run" sand that has not had any salt added to it would be the cheapest option and work well. The loader operator just goes to a part of the pit face that is more sand then stone and takes a bucket full.
If all they have are processed sands the sand being used in the concrete plant would be the next cheapest and would be 1/4 inch minus.
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Re: Peak Sand?

Unread postby Subjectivist » Mon 05 Sep 2016, 11:55:13

Stumbled over the just now, seems like this issue is more severe than I had realized.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/f ... -475164766

It is the economic and cultural toll of sand mining that has finally persuaded the city to address the issue. This summer, sand was imported to a handful of Asilah’s beaches in an attempt to make them more accommodating and presentable for the tourist season. The measure, however, is only a temporary fix to a larger problem.

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