Frac sand is a key component used in the hydraulic fracturing process, which stimulates production by keeping oil and / or natural gas fractures open. With this process components can flow freely through the formation, the pipe casing to the surface.
In the last decade, frac sand has become important in the US due to the growing development of unconventional resources. This material is used in conjunction with larger pads and longer multilateral pads, requiring an increased amount of sand. The growing demand for this product, for example, can be observed in the Permian basin, which in 2017 required twice the amount required in 2016.
Just before the slowdown in the oil industry , proppant represented more than 20% of drilling costs. This resulted in producers in the state of Texas having to lower production costs. The solution was to eliminate transportation costs and invest in infrastructures that can process the sand close to operational worksites. However, this situation generates new challenges that require advanced measurement solutions and digital capabilities in the oil field.
Site data has become one of the most valuable solutions for shale producers. There are digital oilfield solutions available on the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), which have proven to be powerful tools and can only be used if the instrumentation is in place to control process variables such as: pressure, temperature, flow, among others. Therefore, the lack of accurate data in the level of proppants that are stored, delivered and loaded, represents the failure of an important piece of this puzzle.
In recent years, Vepica has taken into consideration industry trends, venturing into technologies that permit the collection of site data. In addition, they have adapted digital platforms based on the cloud and the internet of things (IoT).
For this reason, Vepica offers 3D laser scanning services that compile geometric and dimensional data on existing assets, using robotic total stations and state-of-the-art laser scanners. Likewise, Vepica has formed web-based visualization platforms that allow customers to see intelligent 3D models, (as-built), linked to selected types of operation or maintenance data. In addition, they provide access to real-time data analysis for any dynamic operating system.
Bush, T. 'The State of Frac Sand', Presentation. 6th Annual Frac Sand Supply & Logistics Conference, Houston, TX. (September 28, 2017).