Hydraulic Frac Sand – Exploration & Evaluation Deposits – By: Mark J. Zdunczyk, CPG., consulting geologist
Hydraulic fracturing sand (frac sand) currently and for about the past seven to eight years has been in high demand in the United States and Canada. This had led to many new and potentially new production sites especially in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas.
Other states have also seen an increase of exploration for silica sand deposits such as Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Frac sand consists almost entirely of the mineral quartz and must meet strict specifications as do many industrial silica sands being produced. Each major industry that consumes industrial sand set forth their requirements. In the case of frac sand, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) have rather strict specifications rendering many quartzose sands marginal deposits.
The implementation of well thought out exploration and evaluation program for these deposits or the evaluation of additional reserves, revolve around these specifications. A proper drilling, sampling and testing program are needed to begin the process of meeting these specifications. This paper will be discussing proper drilling techniques, sampling and testing procedures that are needed to determine the quality and quantity of a frac sand reserve.