Hydraulic fracing is a process that pumps water and sand at high pressures to fracture and prop open rocks, allowing oil and natural gas to flow to the surface. Fracing has revolutionized the sand mining industry and made the United States the world’s leading producer of crude oil. So where does this production technique come from? Read more about the history of fracing and how Pontotoc keeps up with the demand for sand.
The history of frac sand extraction dates back to the 1860s, when Edward Roberts filed a patent for an oil well torpedo. Roberts recognized that fracturing the rock wasn’t enough and began filling the borehole with water to extract natural resources.
In 1947, Floyd Farris introduced modern fracing to the oil and gas industry when he studied the correlation between production output and the amount of pressurized treatment applied to the well. This study was considered unsuccessful.
A few years later, the major oil company Halliburton used Farris’s technique to carry out the first successful hydraulic fracing treatments, permanently transforming the industry. Since then, further adjustments and experiments have tweaked the overall process, but the basics of fracing remain the same:
In the preparation process, the site area is verified as properly graded and suitable for drilling. Pads and roads are built on an impermeable liner to prevent spills and allow water drainage.
Hydraulic fracing mines use two drilling techniques to access natural gas and oil:
This process uses a special drilling mud to dig a hole straight into the ground. Cement is poured into the borehole to create a protective barrier between the wellbore and freshwater sources.
Horizontal drilling drills a well from the surface to a specific kickoff point, then pivots the wellbore from a vertical plane to intersect with the entry point.
A connection between the final casing and the rock is created to hold the oil and gas during fracing. Once built, a stimulation fluid of water and high-quality silica sand is pumped into the underground reservoir formations to fracture the rock and allow the natural flow of oil.
The production step is where oil and gas are collected from the wellbore. Most mines collect and repurpose the fracturing fluid for future operations.
Once the underground resources are recovered, the mining company fills the well with cement and cuts off pipes below ground level.
Want to learn more about the Pontotoc difference? Contact us today and ask about our quality assurance process.
The fracing process requires significant amounts of sand to maintain operations. Using the right frac sand mining material is critical for reducing delays and increasing revenue. Pontotoc Sand & Stone offers three main types of Tier 1 frac sand to give our clients the product they need:
100 mesh is the most commonly used type of frac sand and offers the following advantages:
- High crush resistance
- High sphericity that minimizes fines
- Withstands stresses up to 14,000 PSI
40/70 mesh frac sand has a greater silica content and features a highly permeable structure capable of withstanding extreme closure stresses. Some of the advantages provided by this proppant sand include:
- Low acid solubility
- Extreme crush performance
- Strength to withstand closing pressure up to 10,000 PSI
40/80 frac sand is a medium-density product that provides a quality pathway for oil and gas flow. This proppant delivers the following advantages:
- Low turbidity for reduced dust generation
- Elite crush performance
- Handles closure pressures up to 10,000 PSI
Practicing safe sand extraction techniques is a top priority at Pontotoc. Our team undergoes strict training to mitigate hazards and protect themselves and their coworkers. Workplace examinations are performed at the beginning of each shift, and every employee is updated regularly on safe work procedures. We believe safety is the most important element of every job, and we’re committed to protecting our workers and the environment. Contact Pontotoc today to learn more about our growing influence on the sand mining industry.