What is Frac Sand?
“Frac sand” is a high-purity quartz sand with very round grains, and a defined crush resistance at given stresses (psi). It is used in the hydraulic fracturing process (known as “fracking”) to produce fluids, such as oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from rock and shale that lack adequate pore space for these fluids to flow naturally to the well bore. Frac sand is a natural material derived from high purity sandstone.
The demand for frac sand — sometimes referred to as the “The Frac Sand Frenzy” — has grown exponentially in the past several years as almost all oil and natural gas wells are being stimulated using the hydraulic fracturing process (fracking). A Frac job on one well can require thousands of tons of sand. With the expansion of the horizontal drilling, a billion dollar frac sand industry has evolved in a very short time. In the last four years the amount of frac sand used by the oil and gas industry has tripled.
Key Properties Found in Good Quality Frac Sand
- High-purity silica
- Grain size and distribution i.e. 20/40, 30/50, 40/70 and 100 mesh (50/140)
- Rounded and spherical shape of the grains
- Acceptable crush strength at defined stresses