Independent tests on ASX-listed LWP’s fly ash
proppants have shown superior crush resistant k-values and
specific gravity compared to mined silica (frac) sand, the
LWP said that tests undertaken by US expert testing lab DEL
have validated the company’s technology –
ceramic proppants made from a mixture of less than 10% bauxite
and fly ash waste materials – and shown the
competitive cost advantages of using its products.
The company pointed to the current low price environment for
oil and gas, which is driving a focus on shallow wells that
enable oil and gas firms to extract hydrocarbons using cheaper
mined frac sand. Ceramic proppants are generally more expensive
than sand owing to energy-intensive production methods,
although they are better suited for deeper wells.
"LWP is fortunate in that its technology can be adjusted to
serve both the low cost market segment requiring lower
compressive strength, as well as the high compressive strength
segment," LWP said.
Highlights from the testing include bulk density at 8-10%
lighter than mined frac sand, superior sphericity and roundness
compared to most mined sand and a specific gravity (SG) of
1.52, which represents a 40% reduction compared with frac
Frac sand is often imported into Australia from the US,
resulting in high transport and logistics costs. Lower
transportation distances also mean a lower likelihood of
degradation and fines, which are limited to 10% by American
Petroleum Institute (API) and International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) standards.
In July 2015, LWP announced that it had entered
into a joint venture (JV) agreement with Indian ceramic
proppants manufacturer Hallmark Minerals Pvt Ltd for
the production of its fly ash-based proppants in Maharashtra,
Oilfield Minerals News in Brief
Emerge Energy to focus on sand
US-based silica sand miner and processor Emerge Energy
Services LP is selling its motor fuels division to Sunoco LP
for $178.5m as it reverts its focus back to the silica sand
Profits from the sale will be used to reduce Emerge
Energy’s outstanding debt as the company seeks to
revamp its tight financial situation.
Suppliers of silica (frac) sand to the hydraulic fracturing
(fracking) sector have had a challenging past year, as falling
oil and gas prices dampened the expansion of shale operations,
affecting demand and prices for sand. In Q3 2015, Emerge sold
30% less sand at 799,000 short tons (724,841 tonnes), and
recorded a 37% drop in revenues, to $60.7m.
Emerge Energy operates its sand segment through its
subsidiary Superior Silica Sands LLC, supplying Northern White
sands to the fracking sector in North America. Its sand
facilities are in Wisconsin (New Auburn and Barron County) and
Texas (Kosse and Fort Worth).
The divestiture of the fuel operation is subject to
regulatory approval and is expected to be completed during the
third quarter of this year.
US court rejects fracking rules
A court in the US state of Wyoming has ruled that the US
Bureau of Land Management does not have the authority to set
national rules on fracking, rejecting regulation proposals
brought forward by the Obama administration.
The decision is the latest hurdle that Washington has to
face as it seeks to bring about a comprehensive regulatory
framework for the fracking industry in the country.
"The court […] finds that the Bureau of Land
Management lacked congressional authority to promulgate the
regulations," the ruling by judge Scott Skavdahl of the
District Court of Wyoming read. "The court holds the fracking
rule is unlawful."
Early last year, the US Department of
the Interior had tasked its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to
draft new standards
to regulate fracking operations on federal land nation-wide.
The BLM is the main body
in charge of administering and managing public lands and their
resources across the US.
The government aimed to update existing regulation framework
following the sharp increase in fracking activity in the
country leading up to 2012 and the subsequent changes in
technology and materials applied by operators.
Another main objective was to stem public concerns over the
environmental effects of the contentious practice as part of
Obama’s legacy as he approaches the end of his
second term as US president.
The Wyoming court has now quelled the viability of the
"Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior
the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. The
BLM’s effort to do so through the Tracking Rule is
in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law," the
In a separate development, the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) ruled in June against the discharge of wastewater
from unconventional oil and gas wells into publicly-owned
treatment works (POTWs).
Generally, operators do not tend to send wastewater to POTWs
but rather inject it underground, reuse or recycle it.
US Silica expands sand reserves
US Silica has increased the ore reserves at its disposal
with the purchase of additional land next to its silica sand
mine and plant in Ottawa, Illinois, US.
The acquisition of the 327-acre (4,047km2) area
is aimed at increasing production of silica sand. Estimates
suggest the newly-bought land hosts some 30m tonnes ore
reserves, which would be processed into coarse, medium and fine
The value of the transaction was not revealed.
From its Ottawa processing plant, US Silica serves end-use
markets such as glassmaking, construction, chemicals and
Solvay develops oil recovery tech
Solvay Group has teamed up with Abu Dhabi-based Petroleum
Institute University and Research Center (PI) to develop oil
recovery technology for local oilfield applications.
PI will set up a laboratory in Abu Dhabi that will focus on
chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) applications, replicating
technologies already in place in Solvay’s other
Thomas J Hochstettler, president of the Petroleum Institute,
said: "The PI is reinforcing previous efforts in EOR research
particularly in the domains of chemical EOR, hybrid EOR and
The applications will be tailored to the needs of Abu
Dhabi’s oil fields. The state’s Abu
Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is currently working to
reach a target of 70% oil recovery — a goal that
Solvay’s vice-president David Sorin described as
It is understood that Solvay’s EOR applications
will be put into action at ADNOC’s oilfields.
"We believe this partnership will help accelerate the
deployment of EOR technology in Abu Dhabi’s
challenging oil fields, and will support ADNOC in materialising
its ambitious 70% recovery target," Sorin stated.
Graphene NanoChem secures supply to
Graphene NanoChem’s PlatSurF is a
graphene-based nano-emulsion fluid used in oil and gas drilling
to remove residues, unblock passages and improve flow during
The company has secured a deal to supply PlatSurF to an oil
and gas explorer in Myanmar, which is running a two-year
drilling programme of 16-18 wells.
The first commercial order received for the Myanmar Drilling
Programme, valued at $198, 864, will be deployed for use in
four wells in the coming months.