Frac Sand Hauling
One aspect of the heavy haul and energy transportation industry involves frac sand hauling. Modern day high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, dates to 1862 and was originally referred to as “shooting the well” and utilized explosives. In the 1940s, the explosives once used were replaced with high-pressure blasts of liquids. Fracking as we know it, came into regular practice in the early 1960s. For frac sand hauling services, please contact LFS Energy today.
The primary purpose of fracking is to allow a more comprehensive extraction of oil or gas from shale and other tight rock formations (impermeable rock formation in which oil and gas are locked, making the production of fossil fuel extremely problematic). The process involves drilling through several layers of the earth’s crust, forming cracks/fissures, and then pumping large pressurized quantities of water, sand, and additives into these fissures to prop them open in the formation. This process allows the once trapped fossil fuels to flow to the surface. The small, solid particles (frac sand) used to prop open the fractures after the pressure from the injection process diminishes are referred to as proppants. Sand is the premier choice proppant used in fracking because of its high-purity quartz composition, which is noted for its uniform round shape, size, and crush resistance. The United States is the world leader in frac sand production. In a 2016 cost study done by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), proppant costs accounted for 14% of total costs for drilling and completion of typical onshore wells. (https://www.hicrushinc.com/the-fundamentals-of-frac-sand-logistics).
Fracking is largely responsible for making the US the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas. In 2016, 70% of all new wells were fracked (683,900). (https://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/permian-basin-in-new-mexico-and-west-texas-americas-newest-fracking-boom) According to a Rystad Energy report featured on oilprice.com, the COVID-19 pandemic caused new fracking operations in the United States to bottom out at 325 wells in June. In the Permian Basin, May and June frac activity totaled 15-20 wells per week. The first three weeks of July, however, saw more promising numbers at 40-45 wells weekly. 125 started frac jobs have been identified as of July 22, 2020 in the Permian Basin, a 15-23% increase from the cumulative May and June figures. (https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Permian-Leads-Recovery-As-Frackers-Ramp-Up-Activity-After-Oil-Crash.html)
is the top producer of crude oil and natural gas. The Lonestar State is home to 2 of the nation’s biggest unconventional plays (gas and oil-rich shale and tight rock formations). Unconventional as it is referred to her denotes oil and gas resources in less permeable and less porous rock. (https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fracking-101). According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the area encompassing 86K square miles of southern New Mexico and West Texas, is home to one of the largest oil reserves in the world, accounting for 35% of all U.S. crude oil and 17% of all U.S. natural gas production.
Prior to 2017, the lion’s share of frac sand was transloaded from trains or hauled from places including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. Northern White and Ottawa White deposits found in these regions became synonymous with high grade frac sand. 70% of the cost related to frac sand was in transportation. As with anything else in the business world, the decision to build in-basin frac sand mining operations was primarily cost driven. In addition, it was discovered that the sand in the Permian Basin yielded the exact type/composition of the two most utilized grades of frac sand used to complete West Texas wells (40/70 mesh and 50/140 [100 mesh} sand). That sparked a race to mine and produce frac sand in-basin. Remember prior to 2017, 70% of frac sand came from the Midwest, however, by 2018, there was a notable shift in these numbers, with 34% of U.S. frac sand production coming from the Permian Basin.
As fracking rebounds, the need for frac sand haulers will once again arise. They are required to have 2 years driving experience along with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). It is estimated that frac sand haulers could make upwards of $60K - $100k per year, while averaging 12-hour to 14-hour days and a 60 + hour work week. Typically, frac sand haulers work 6 days a week including night shifts. The longer shifts allow a driver to make more income. One of the determining variables that factors into the equation is whether a frac sand hauling company pays its drivers by the load or by the hour. At times, frac sand haulers will drive on the highways and interstates, but much of their time will be spent on bumpy, crowded lease roads. After a long slower road trip, they arrive at a sand plant, they may realistically spend several hours waiting in line behind other trucks. Once loaded with approximately 40 K – 50 K pounds of sand, it is off to their destination well site. Depending on their proximity to the well site they are delivering to, they may make 3-4trips during their workday.
There are various types of equipment used to haul sand. Some trucks operate pneumatic or belly dump trailers. Newer technology used by many frac sand trucking companies includes the use of sandboxes containers which can be loaded onto a flatbed trailer and driven to the well site. Today, it takes an estimated 15 million pounds of frac sand to complete a well and requires several hundred truckloads to accomplish this feat.
Learn more about our services offered for frac sand hauling by visiting our website https://www.heavyhaulload.com/