The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) recently published a report on the potential of selected silica sand deposits in the state for use as hydraulic fracturing proppant. In hydraulic fracturing operations, proppants hold fractures open in the subsurface, facilitating improved recovery of hydrocarbons. Proppant sands are expensive to transport, therefore locating a source in proximity to areas of petroleum production is beneficial.
The report evaluates selected silica-rich sand deposits found in bedrock, dune, and alluvial fan exposures located near Wyoming’s major transportation corridors as potential proppant material. Sands were analyzed for silica content, grain size and shape, turbidity, acid solubility, and resistance to crushing; properties important to hydraulic fracturing sands.
“The results of this study show that the sands selected for evaluation have potential for use in shallow hydraulic fracturing applications. However, we did not find higher-quality sands typically used in hydraulic fracturing operations at greater depths, as is the case in most unconventional reservoirs,” says Andrea Loveland, WSGS geologist.
“Although we didn’t receive results as strong as we had hoped with this study, the WSGS will continue to work toward identifying new geologic resources to benefit the state,” says Erin Campbell, Director of the Wyoming State Geological Survey.
The 22-page report, “Evaluation of Selected Wyoming Silica Sand Deposits as Potential Sources of Proppant: Wyoming State Geological Survey Report of Investigations 75,” is available as a free download on the WSGS website. <http://sales.wsgs.wyo.gov/evaluation-of-selected-wyoming-silica-sand-deposits-as-potential-sources-of-proppant-2017/>