What Is Fracing? The Complete Guide
Hydraulic fracturing is a subject that has gained widespread attention over the last decade with the rise of shale oil and gas drilling production. With gas and oil demand on the rise—especially due to the Russia and Ukraine conflict in 2022—business investors must understand the critical points of fracing to make wise investment decisions.
At Pontotoc Sand & Stone, we make quality frac sand and deliver it efficiently to make your hydraulic fracturing process as easy as possible. In this article, we’ll walk through hydraulic fracturing basics and benefits and highlight what sets apart our frac sand from the competition. Here’s everything you need to know about fracing:
Hydraulic Fracturing Basics
Over the last decade, U.S. shale producers have rapidly increased resources like crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The United States is now the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas, ahead of countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, thanks to the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing. But you still may be wondering, “What exactly is fracing?”
Fracing: A Brief History
Hydraulic fracturing is a process that was first used in 1947. The process was first tested by the Stanolind Oil company at the Hugoton Gas Field in Kansas. Although there was very little use in its first 50 years of existence, fracing boomed on a massive scale in 2003 in the United States when energy companies began expanding natural gas exploration. In 2004, horizontal hydraulic fracture drilling accounted for only 15% of the crude oil produced by the United States. Just last year, horizontal drilling accounted for 96% of total oil produced. Most fracing operations are in shale formations in states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
What Is Fracing?
Hydraulic fracturing is a well-generation process that increases gas and oil production. Fracing processes are performed to increase the flow of fluids in wells and holes with low permeability, like sandstone and shale formations.
New fractures are created within rock throughout the process so gas and oil components can flow freely. Without hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas remain locked in rocks and are much more difficult and expensive to be extracted with traditional drilling methods.
How Does the Hydraulic Fracturing Process Work?
Hydraulic fracturing is the process of pumping fluids at high-pressure rates into oil or gas-based formation rock sediment to create fractures for oil and gas to move freely. The fracturing fluid solutions contain frac particles, water, proppants, and chemicals to create fractures. Typical fracturing fluid solutions used by industrial companies contain up to 12 chemicals, with components like acids, salts, and sodium carbonates.
Proppants are solid particles mixed with fracturing fluids solutions to golf or prop the well open. Proppants allow for an easy flow of gas and oil in and out of the well. The fractured well will not stay open when industrial pumps aren’t on, and proppants aren’t utilized. At Pontotoc Sand & Stone, we offer industry-leading frac sand proppants to make any hydraulic fracturing process much smoother.
How Long Does It Take to Drill a Well?
- Direct solution to the energy crisis
- Cheap source of energy
- Clean source of energy
- New industries, employment opportunities
- Environmentally friendly compared to traditional drilling approaches
Are you interested in learning more about the use of proppants in fracing? Check out this article covering the history of frac sand mining.
Additional Fracing Applications
Although fracing plays a crucial role in the gas and oil industries, many other applications benefit from their service. Additional industries and uses are outlined below.
- Measurement: Fracing is commonly used by geologists to measure stress levels within the Earth. Studies aren’t just conducted around the United States, where fracing is mainly used, but on a global scale.
- Waste: Hydraulic fracturing is utilized in the waste remediation process. Waste is disposed of by injection into deep rock formations, allowing carbon dioxide to take over.
- Energy: Electricity is produced, and heat is extracted by the fracing process in geothermal systems.
- Water wells: Hydraulic fracturing is used to increase the efficiency and stimulation of groundwater wells, just as it does with the oil and gas recovery.
- Mining: Fracing is a key player in controlling rock caving when it comes to mining. Fracing also helps to extract uranium components during the mining process.
Hydraulic Fracturing Types
The flow rate, pressures, and composition of fluid required determine what type of fracing works best for your applications and operations. Let’s run through the different methods of hydraulic fracturing:
Horizontal fracing is the most versatile method, with the wells penetrating parallel to the rock layer. In horizontal processes, technology can reach as far down as 1,500 feet to 5,000 feet.
Vertical fracing is the most common type of well-stimulation, with a depth reaching 50 feet to 300 feet. The wells are penetrated perpendicular to the rock layer containing the oil or gas reserve.
Quality Frac Sand for Hydraulic Fracturing
At Pontotoc Sand & Stone, we provide fracing companies with industry-leading frac sand proppant material. Our frac sand mining process ensures top quality, with methods that involve monitored vegetation removal, topsoil removal, sandstone removal, excavation, and reduction. For proven performance, we provide your business with 100 mesh, 40/70 mesh, or 40/80 mesh frac sand material. Reach out to our team of experts for the best fracing material today.
The Frac Sand Drilling Process
Before sand can be used as a critical agent in fracing, companies like Pontotoc use a 10-step frac sand production process to extract material from the ground. Listed below are the steps:
- Vegetation removal
- Topsoil and rock layer removal
- Sandstone removal
- Wash Sand
- Stockpiling for final stages
- Reject material settling
- Dry reject material
- Backfilling unwanted rock
Choose Our Frac Sand Drilling Process at Pontotoc Sand & Stone
Pontotoc is an industry-leading provider of sand and stone. Our frac sand is used for easy gas and oil extraction in any hydraulic fracturing drilling process. Contact our team of experts today for quality frac sand material.