Thursday, March 23, 2017

To Frack One Well: 200,000 Truckloads Of Sand -- WSJ -- March 23, 2017

Note: I may have errors in my comments section. I won't be able to correct them until later. I'm out and about. For now, I would recommend sticking with the WSJ story.

200,000 truckloads of sand to frack one well; no wonder some folks want to ban fracking. Anyway, back to the story:

This story has been reported on the blog for at least the past two years -- it began with an article by Mike Filloon. He was a bit early perhaps but now everyone is reporting it: the latest threat to US oil drillers -- the rocketing price of sand. At The Wall Street Journal:
  • pushing towards $40/ton
  • up from $15 to $20/ton in 2H16
  • demand could outstrip supply by 2018 (next year)
  • sector will need 120 million tons, double the demand in 2014 at the height of the US drilling boom
  • accounts for 5% to 7% of the cost of a well 4Q16
  • in 3Q14: record at $50/ton
  • Permian: 2,000 lbs/foot on wells that measured 5,500 feet
  • Louisiana: Chesapeake record -- 50.2 million lbs; well roughly 1.8 miles long (typical lengeth for a long lateral in the Bakken)
  • Pioneer: has its own sand mines; will test at 3,000 lbs/foot this year (2017)
  • 5 million lbs: 100 railcars
  • West Texas: using twice that amount/well -- requires two mile-long unit trains (a unit train = 100 boxcars)
  • nothing new
  • sand remains the least of their costs
  • Permian: perhaps the biggest user of sand/well
  • Bakken: at low end
I track this issue with a tag: Fracking_Sand.

From FAQ:
  • more than 75 semi-trucks (18-wheelers) of frack sand are required to frack one well (2014) [Update, December 31, 2016: for every 4 million lbs of sand, 100 18-wheelers are needed; for an EOG well fracked with 20 million lbs, 500 18-wheelers]
  • The WSJ at the link said this: shipping 5 million pounds of sand can require 100 railcars and 200,000 truck loads, according to a 2013 study by the University of Wisconsin
  • either I'm missing something or they're using F-150 pick-ups to move fracking sand in Wisconsin 
  • Disclaimer: I'm always making mistakes comparing railcar capacity (sand) vs trucks (sand) but 200,000 truck loads seems incorrect. One can google it. One site:
From a reader who knows trucking:
  • a typical semi hauls 48,000 lbs (unless road restrictions, then 10 tons per axle)
  • total semi, trailer, and cargo weigh: 80,000 lbs
  • 200,000 trucks (per the WSJ article) x 48,000 lbs = 9.6 billion lbs of sand
That's a lot of sand for one frack.

From my linked site above: I can never remember this stuff so I'm posting it again, from an earlier post, October 15, 2016:
Start with this: each hopper car carries 100 tons of fracking sand.

Some data points for newbies:
  • the shale revolution began with fracking sand, maybe 500,000 pounds per well in one stage. BEXP broke new ground when they began routinely using 4 million lbs to frack a well. Since then, EOG has taken the lead. 
  • EOG is using upwards of 30 million lbs of sand to frack a well in the Permian, others using similar amounts in the STACK.
  • operators in the Bakken appear to be using about 8 million lbs as the standard, though there are outliers, mostly at 10 million lbs, but there are some Bakken wells fracked with as much as 20 million lbs (rare).
  • there appears to be a movement away from ceramic (incredibly expensive)
  • one rail hopper car can carry 100 tons of fracking sand.
  • a unit train is generally 115 cars. Some are as long as 130 cars.
  • it takes 4 - 5 18-wheelers to empty a single hopper car.
  • 30 million lbs of sand (one Permian well) / 200,000 lbs (hopper car) = 150 hopper cars = 750 18-wheelers (5 trucks per rail car). 
  • 4 million lbs of sand (one Bakken well) / 200,000 lbs (hopper car) = 20 hopper cars = 100 18-wheelers (5 trucks per rail car).
 I often make simple arithmetic errors. Let me know if I've made an error here. So how many trucks of fracking sand for a well fracked with 20 million lbs?
    • 4 million lbs = 100 18-wheelers
    • 20 million lbs = 500 18-wheelers

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