OGX Operating, a Midland based E&P company with holdings throughout the Permian Basin was considering the value of utilizing sand from the Hickory Formation (typically known as Brady sand) versus the more expensive Northern White sand from mines located out of state. While determining the economic impact, there was also a very important performance aspect to OGX for the ultimate completion and production from their planned well.
In comparing the different characteristics of both sands, OGX determined that the Brady sand is shown to perform as well or at a minimum, “comparably” in terms of crush values and may perform better than N. White sand in conductivity creating a high level of permeability in the San Andres Rock formation which has low permeability.*(ref. article by Joel Schneyer and **Halliburton) Upon analysis of the Brady sand’s proposed, OGX determined that sand from Permian FracSand contained the sphericity, crush and conductivity values to perform the work.
In their PASADENA #1H well, OGX requested bids from a minimum of 3 service companies to perform their hydraulic fracturing job. The well is located in Howard County, TX and was determined to be a San Andres, a horizontal frac job that would utilize approximately 3 million pounds of 20/40 mesh sand. Two of the bids proposed supplying Brady sand and at least one bid proposed N. White sand to perform the work. While all bids were competitively priced for the work, there was a major economic difference between the bids proposing Brady sand and those proposing N. White sand. This “major” difference was mostly in the cost of the sand. The N. White sand cost was approximately $122,000 higher than the Brady sand. The cost of the N. White sand was determined to be a combination of a higher price per ton for the sand itself and additional costs of handling and freight from the mine to a transload facility near Midland and finally, re-handling and shipping from the transload facility to the wellsite. (ref. Fig. 1 & 2)
The frac job was successfully performed over a two-day period in January 2019 and completed 17 stages. The lateral was at 3,000ft. TVD for a total of 4,000ft. of lateral.
The intent of the well was to provide good permeability, and this was achieved as a result of the frac job utilizing the Brady Sand. Initial fluid recovery was 3,000 bbls/day for the first 60 days.
OGX has determined that “Brady Sand” is an economical and technical alternative to N. White sand providing high performance at much lower costs. While this particular well was a relatively small frac job, the economics on a well utilizing only 1,500 tons of sand was considerable enough to make a value impact while maintaining and/or increasing expected performance. As we consider larger frac jobs that may require tens of thousands of tons of sand, we expect the economic savings from using Brady Sand to be impressive and “required use” in our overall cost reduction efforts.