“Fraccing” is a method of mining oil and natural gas reserves that were previously unreachable. These reserves are contained deep underground beneath large quantities of shale, a type of rock. The process is begun by drilling vertically to a certain depth, then out horizontally in all directions. Vertical and horizontal pipes fill these drillings. A special type of sand, known as frac sand, is forced down and out of holes in the horizontal pipes at high pressures. The sand cracks the shale, and then props it up so it doesn’t collapse on itself. From there, the oil or gas can be extracted.
Frac sand is an integral part of fraccing. And it’s not just any old sand. To be used in fraccing, sand must meet very stringent requirements. To begin with, it needs to pass a strength test to ensure that it won’t break down when being propelled at the high pressures needed to crack shale. Then, each sand granule must be very round. This makes it possible for oil to seep through the gaps between these nearly spherical granules.
As fraccing has taken off, so has frac sand mining. And that’s where Standley Batch comes in. We supply the material handling systems for frac sand mining companies. In our next blog, we’ll walk you through what’s required of these systems.