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Have you ever wondered how frac sand is transported from mines to well sites? What happens when a sand buyer in Texas places an order of frac sand from a quarry in Oklahoma? Modern technology and automated logistics have helped simplify the process, guaranteeing the correct product gets delivered at the right time.
Frac sand is a quartz-based mineral and a central component of sandstone and other rocks. Frac sand is nonreactive, round, and structurally rigid. The oil and gas industry uses frac sand to enable hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Machines mix the sand with water and other minerals, and the pressurized mixture hydraulically fractures the slate rock, creating innumerable cracks and openings. Frac sand keeps these cracks and fissures open, allowing oil and natural gas to surface.
With the past decade’s skyrocketing demand for frac sand, sand suppliers have perfected frac sand transportation. Computer systems and logistics automation allow quick, efficient, and cost-effective transportation from the mine to the wellsite. These programs account for supply chain variables and transportation logistics (routes, cost, time, etc.)
Here is the process of transporting a frac sand delivery from start to finish.
The first step of frac sand transportation is mining the material from the earth. Explosives and excavators unearth frac sand. Dump trucks and haulers transport the sand to treatment facilities to prepare it for commercial use. After facilities wash, filter, break up, dry, purify, and process the frac sand, workers sort it into silos, storage containers, or piles for delivery. These processes remove silica dust and unwanted sediments, ensuring the final product is quality, Tier 1 frac sand.
After workers have assessed the frac sand for quality and purity, it’s ready to be loaded for transport. Frac sand is transported by conveyors into trucks and railcars. There are portable and in-plant conveyors that can handle this process in minutes.
Sand mines and sediment providers are always looking for new, innovative ways to transport frac sand efficiently. Automotive loading processes quickly identify, load, and weigh incoming trucks.
Each commercial truck or sand hauler receives an automated bill connected to its license plate number. A facility will scan your license plate to open the cargo manifest. The driver enters the pickup line, and the sand loading process starts. After the automatic loading process has loaded the frac sand into the truck or hauler, the driver weighs the load at a weigh station, receives a receipt, and then drives back to the desired facility.
Automated sand loading makes ordering, processing, transporting, tracking, and data acquisition much more effortless.
Now that the frac sand has been excavated and loaded, it’s time to transport it to the wellsite or final destination. There are a few different ways frac sand is transported, each having its benefits. Logistics services provide real-time information and updates on each delivery.
Trucks are one of the leading ways for frac sand transportation. Trucks hold less sand than other transportation methods, but they are more maneuverable, generally faster, and can reach more places. Special loading trucks with built-in conveyors carry frac sand into delivery sites upon delivery.
Railways and train cars are an excellent way to transport frac sand. Railways allow for large quantities of sand and are the most cost-effective option. Many mines reside next to railways, allowing for easy transfer of materials from mine to train cars.
The last transportation method for frac sand hauling is by barge and waterways. The central and Midwest parts of the country contain many water access points and rivers. Trucks and railcars are brought to river depots and loaded onto barges and container ships. They make their way up or downriver to another river depot, where they are unloaded into trucks and railcars, ready to finish the last leg of their journey.
After the frac sand reaches its destination, workers load it into silos or storage facilities to await future use. Conveyors transport the sand from train cars and trucks to the designated area or facility.
These train cars and trucks open at the bottom, allowing the sand to drop onto the conveyor, lifting it into the silos.
Whether your hydraulic fracturing site is in Southern Missouri, Oklahoma, or West Texas, Pontotoc Sand & Stone can deliver top-grade frac sand promptly and efficiently.
Our automated processes make ordering, dispatching, hauling, tracking, reporting, and data acquisition of sediment easier and more secure. Our in-basin proppant is Tier 1 sand, and we can modify it to 100 mesh, 40/80, and 40/70 grain. If your business requires industrial sand, crushed limestone, or Tier 1 frac sand, Pontotoc Sand & Stone is the perfect option. Contact us today.