Monday, May 14, 2012

Shale Boom Sets Off a Midwest Sand Boom



From the WSJ article "Midwest Sees a Sand Rush" (with video above):

"Sand is in high demand among U.S. oil and natural-gas producers, setting off a sand rush in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other Midwestern states. Sand mined in the Midwest is used in places such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania to tap oil and gas reserves. 

Sand mined in the Midwest is used in places such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania to tap oil and gas reserves. The U.S. producers' demand for sand reached 28.7 million tons in 2011, up from six million tons in 2007 (see chart above). 

The surging demand is making sand the Midwest slice of a national energy boom. Oil and gas producers in recent years have greatly boosted the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap reserves once out of reach. Sand, injected deep underground to prop open fractures in shale formations and allow oil and gas to flow out, is important in "fracking."

Wisconsin and Minnesota have abundant supplies of the type of sand that oil and gas producers need. Geological conditions were right hundreds of millions of years ago to form sand hard enough to withstand the pressure thousands of feet underground, while also having round grains that leave space so the oil and gas can escape. Fracking sand can fetch around $50 a ton, depending on quality."

MP: Drill, drill, drill = jobs, jobs, jobs in many supporting industries like fracking sand. 

HT: Jon Murphy

9 Comments:

At 5/15/2012 6:57 AM, Blogger rjs said...

with all the fuel being consumed in mining frack sand, trucking the frack water to the wellhead, steelmaking for the well casings, & deisel fuel for the fracking operation itself, one wonders what the energy return on energy invested is...

 
At 5/15/2012 7:46 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

RJS-

Given that the return for traditional oil is 6-to-1 (for every one unit of energy used in the processes, six are returned), and assuming that fracking and the refining process is a bit more energy intensive, I'd guess around 4-to-1? Maybe 3-to-1?

 
At 5/15/2012 8:30 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Sand and gravel has always been the most valuable mineral deposits in the US, and transportation of it is always an issue.

Environmental arguments against gravel pits in the suburbs mean that snad and gravel for constructon is transported much farther than necessary.

Sand used for fracking has specific physical attributes that make certain sources more valuable and sought after.

 
At 5/15/2012 9:40 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Look for speculators to drive up the price of sand timers. Critical to sand timers is sand that is "... fine, dry and consistently formed so it can flow smoothly".

If...

Speculators corner the market on sand timers then the hourglass may be driven from the market. Look for 5-minute timers to be the only sand timepiece available for consumer use -- until this fracking fad fizzles.

:>)

 
At 5/15/2012 9:46 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Speculators corner the market on sand timers then the hourglass may be driven from the market. Look for 5-minute timers to be the only sand timepiece available for consumer use -- until this fracking fad fizzles.

Good God, what would we do without hourglasses? Our nation, nay our very way of life, will cease to be! Congress must act now to ban sand speculation, for the sake of hour children. I do not want them to grow up in a world without hourglasses. If that happens, then the terrorists win.

:-P

 
At 5/15/2012 9:57 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Jon Murphy states:

"...for the sake of hour children."

Jon, maybe we need need to positive about this. "Hour(very nice) children" could benefit the math of twelve 5-minute timers equalling one sand hour. You know, frack shuns.

 
At 5/15/2012 10:04 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Jon, maybe we need need to positive about this. "Hour(very nice) children" could benefit the math of twelve 5-minute timers equalling one sand hour. You know, frack shuns.

Oh man, when did this dissolve into the pun comedy hour? :-P

 
At 5/15/2012 10:18 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

OK, back to serious stuff,

Sand is technically a proppant for fracking. This interesting article states that proppants represent 5% of the cost of drilling a well in the Bakken.

 
At 5/15/2012 12:56 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

in terms of the pun award, i think juandos is in the lead lately with fauxcahontas to describe lizzie warren.

that said, the best i have seen in ages was a headline about a woman on long island who got busted from prostitution out of her hot dog truck:

"hot dog hooker RELISHES getting back to work".

now THAT is journalistic excellence.

 

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