Finally, I can post what I thought about proppants, but confusing well files earlier made me unsure.
Once wells are completed, the operator provides data to the NDIC including data regarding fracking. It seems to me that the reporting has been uneven, but tonight I see that the file reports for two wells on a pad northwest of Williston answered my question.
It seemed that some reports to the NDIC suggested that when fracking, some companies did not include sand as proppant; sand was sand and ceramic proppant was the proppant. I was probably reading the reports incorrectly but it was confusing. It's possible the reporting was uneven to make it difficult to determine exactly how much ceramic proppant was used.
Tonight, two nice reports by BEXP made it very clear that in the box labeled "Proppants" the box is to include sand plus ceramic proppants. That's what I would have thought, but there have been reports when the amount of sand plus the amount of ceramic proppants did not add up to total proppant used.
This probably sounds confusing, but these two BEXP file reports will clear it up.
On well with file # 19584, the Dave Arnson 8-5 1H well, was fracked with 32 stages, using a total of 3,796,700 pounds of proppant of which 1,467,840 pounds was sand; the rest was ceramic.
On well with file # 19829, the O'Neill 17-20 1H well, was fracked with 33 stages, using a total of 4,103,460 pounds of proppant of which 1,616,380 pounds was sand; the rest was ceramic.
This was pretty basic stuff, and I always thought sand was classified as proppant, but as noted, some file reports made it unclear, suggesting some companies were reporting only the ceramic as proppant, assuming that, of course, sand was used in the mix.
By the way, just for the record, here are the wells:
- 19584, 2,192, BEXP, Dave Arnson 8-5 1H, t5/24/11; cumulative: 47,656 bbls
- 19829, 2,965, BEXP, O'Neill 17-20 1H, t5/29/11; cumulative: 51,730 bbls
Rumors from roughnecks in the field suggest that ceramic proppants, though much more expensive, are not any better than sand. If true, it suggests that other rumors suggesting that lack of fracking sand is part of the reason for the fracking backlog. If ceramic proppants cost four times more than sand, and isn't much better, it doesn't make sense to use so much ceramic proppant -- unless the operators are unable to get enough sand.
If this turns out to be true, maybe someday, the Chinese will be shipping fracking sand to the US rather than ceramic proppants (assuming the Chinese have fracking sand).