Halliburton goes large with sand terminal

By Mike O'Driscoll
Published: Thursday, 30 May 2013

World’s largest frac sand transfer terminal comes online


Halliburton’s new 40m lb frac sand terminal at Windsor, Colorado, nearing completion in early March 2013.

O ilfield services giant Halliburton has responded to the challenging logistical demands of frac sand supply by bringing on stream the world’s largest dedicated frac sand transfer terminal.


Halliburton recently opened its 40m lb new sand storage and distribution plant located at Windsor, Colorado, north of Denver. IM visited the site just prior to its opening.


The logistics market for frac sand has been turned on its head since 2010.


In fact, the US frac sand industry is a logistics game. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand are having to be shifted from mines located primarily in north-central US (Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas), to fracking operations in the shale gas and shale oil plays of the Bakken formation (Montana, North Dakota), the Permian (west Texas), the Marcellus (Pennsylvania, New York), and the Utica (Ohio).

  The Niobrara shale formation located in northeastern Colorado, with parts trending into Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas, has emerged as a major target for shale oil development, although shale gas has also been recovered.


Considered a major tight resource play, 46-451 metres thick with organic content ranging from 1-5%, the Niobrara is in early stages of development. Niobrara’s brittle, calcareous chalk benches make the formation highly suitable for fracturing.


  Establishing adequate and strategic logistics infrastructure, plus alliances with logistics providers such as railroad companies, has become the market mantra and will dictate the survival of the fittest in this increasingly competitive market.


For major oilfield service providers, such as Halliburton, which handle large tonnages of oilfield minerals, it is essential to own and operate storage and distribution facilities to ensure consistent supply to their customers.


Halliburton recognised the increased demand for fracking in the Niobrara formation in north-east Colorado (see map), particularly in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, and realised that the anticipated volumes of incoming frac sand would require a much more enhanced transfer facility than its existing infrastructure.


Windsor frac sand terminal


Halliburton started building the new storage terminal for frac sand in Windsor, Colorado, during the first quarter of 2012. The terminal was built on 54 acres (220,000m2) of the Great Western Industrial Park, formerly on the site of Eastman Kodak Co.


Key to the location of the plant is its spur railroad link to two of the largest US railroad companies: Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific.


The plant utilises a state-of-the-art system to discharge sand swiftly from 90-110 railcar unit trains to 10 storage silos each holding 4m lbs sand, which in turn load sand trucks to deliver the proppant to the drill pads in the Niobrara.


The plant enables two rail cars to be discharged at the same time using two independent systems each incorporating an underground pit beneath the rail track, a wide hopper (40 s.tons) and bucket elevator to feed a set of five 4m lbs silos at a rate of 650 tph sand (most other railcar discharge facilities are 350 tph).


Sampling and analysis is conducted pre-discharge which takes about 15 minutes. Railcar discharge takes about six minutes, and about eight minutes to load a sand truck.


The plant officially opened on 18 March 2013 and has been ramping up ever since. Joseph Powell, Logistics Supervisor, Halliburton – Brighton Field Camp Logistics, told IM : “The Halliburton Windsor Sand Plant go-live went very well.”


The most popular sand grade at present for the Niobrara is 20/40, with some 30/50, and 40/70, with little resin coated sand used.

IM roundtable

Halliburton is presenting at the IM Roundtable Oilfield Minerals Outlook 2013, 19-21 June, Houston: Brian O’Connell, Senior Category Manager is talking about barite supply and demand trends while Steve Gray, Mineral Resource Development, will be looking at the technological evolution of bentonite.

Oilfield Minerals Outlook 2013 focuses on the supply, demand, processing, and logistics for industrial minerals used in the oilfield sector. Last year’s inaugural event brought together 250 senior decision makers from leading players across the oilfield mineral supply chain.

Keynote presentations include the Energy Information Administration on world shale gas outlook, IHS Chemical on the growth of hydraulic fracturing, Accenture on supply chain logistics, and Baker Hughes on industry changes which are impacting mineral consumption in drilling.

Don’t miss out on learning about the latest trends and developments in the oilfield sector and how this will affect future mineral demand.

Register online now!


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  • W. Jay Hartl | 24 Jan 2014, 10:21 PM

    As an a retired Halliburton emp. I try to keep up with new frac tec. that Halliburton using. I live in MN, we have people here that would like to stop the mining of silica sand. I was working in Williston,ND for over 24 years.