- mega-fracks: some operators have already pumped up to 30 million lbs per horizontal well (Chesapeake: 25,000 tons of sand, 50 million lbs)
- some are planning even higher sand volume per well in 2017
- some suggest that the "gold standard" for frack sand is "Northern White Sand"
- Northern White Sand: found in the upper midwest of the US
- known for its high conductivity and crush strength; also, high sphericity and purity
- Premium Tier 1; mono-crystalline; over 99.6% pure quartz, unlike Tier II frack sands
- high permeability (conductivity) is a major benefit for using Premium Tier I frack sand
- Fairmount Santrol operates several mines in the upper Midwest; also a sand mine in Brady, TX -- produces Texas Gold, a high quality brown type sand
Now, for more about frack sand than you ever thought you would want to known, this is a very, very good paper on frack sand, over at Rock Products:
Highly prized frac sand mined principally in Wisconsin and Minnesota is referred to by the mining industry as “Northern White” sand or “Ottawa” sand.
Slightly lower quality frac sand, referred to as “Brady” or “Brown” sand, is mined from central Texas.
The principal sources of “Northern White” or “Ottawa” sand in the upper Midwest are the Middle and Upper Ordovician St. Peter Sandstone and the Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician Jordan Formation, with the Upper Cambrian Wonewoc and Mount Simon Formations gaining in importance.
The main source for the “Brown” or “Brady” sand is the Upper Cambrian Hickory Member of the Riley Formation in central Texas.
Additional secondary frac sand sources include the Middle Ordovician Oil Creek Formation in Oklahoma. Sand deposits that are less suitable as frac sand, such as the Pliocene Bidahochi Formation in Arizona and the modern Loup River sands of Nebraska, are also being used in the proppant industry.
As the demand for frac sand increases, new sources are being sought that may become economic with changes in technology and physical standards, despite their currently lower quality.