Halliburton goes large with sand terminal

By Mike O'Driscoll
Published: Monday, 03 June 2013

Oilfield services giant 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.

 
 
Oilfield 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.

As Bruce McMichael explains in “Frac sand logistics” (see p.36), 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).

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.