26 Feb 2018

New Frac Sand Mines Speed to Market with Natural Gas Generators

Natural Gas Generators powering a Sand Mine

New Frac Sand Mines Speed to Market with Natural Gas-Powered Generators




First things first: what exactly is frac sand? The term comes from “fracking sand” and refers to sand and similar small materials that are used during the process of hydraulic fracturing. This is a method to produce hydrocarbons, such as oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from rocks that lack adequate pore space for these fluids to flow into a well. 

Usually, frac sand is a natural material made from high-purity sandstone. An alternative product could be ceramic beads made from sintered bauxite or small metal beads made from aluminum. These materials are also called proppants, since they “prop open” the underground cracks. Proppants are blasted (under high pressure) into a shale gas well, along with large quantities of water and industrial fluids. This process stimulates oil and gas production.

Sand mining operations are expanding because oil companies found that the more of this sand they pumped into an oil well, the more oil and gas it produced. One of the main focus locations for sand mines is the Permian Basin, located mostly in the Western part of Texas and also the Southeastern part of New Mexico. It is one of the most prolific oil and natural gas geologic basins in the U.S.

Recent studies indicate that localized frac sand operations will reduce overall oil and gas well development and completion costs by at least 5%. In addition to that, deploying rental natural gas power systems for the off-grid mining operations enables favorable economics, due to fuel savings and producing sand ahead of the scheduled permanent utilities. 

Because of this scenario, we have already provided up to 84 MW of temporary power for two companies developing Permian sand mines. For these projects, we installed natural gas fueled generators at several mines in a market where the most popular and widespread fuel source is diesel. 

Download the free whitepaper above for more details and forecasts on how new frac sand mines speed to market with natural gas-powered generators. 

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