Black Mountain Sand is excited to announce the opening of an in-basin frac sand mine serving oilfield services companies and operators throughout the Eagle Ford Shale.
Mine construction is underway with an opening targeted prior to year-end 2018. From its convenient location in Atascosa County, the approximately 2,300-acre mine will deliver an estimated 2.2 million tons of sand annually.
Once fully commissioned, the Eagle Ford mine will employ 75 people and produce 2.2 million tons of sand annually.
COMING SOON TO THE EAGLE FORD SHALE
About Eagle Ford Shale Frac Sand
In response to a slow but steady rebound in crude oil pricing, frac sand demand in oil and natural gas-producing basins like the Eagle Ford Shale is climbing as E&P companies amp up drilling efforts. Frac sand is a key component of hydraulic fracturing, a well completion method in which liquids are introduced into a wellbore at high pressure, forcing fissures within a rock to open thus releasing the hydrocarbons held within. These new pathways are then propped open with frac sand, allowing oil and gas to flow to the wellhead.
Since the first discovery well in the region was drilled in 2008, the Eagle Ford Shale has become a prolific producer, now producing approximately 12 percent of total United States oil production.
According to the Texas Railroad Commission:
The Eagle Ford Shale is a hydrocarbon-producing geological formation of significant importance due to its capability of producing both natural gas while also more oil than other traditional shale plays. The shale play trends across Texas from the Mexican border into East Texas, roughly 50 miles wide and 400 miles long with an average thickness of 250 feet. It contains a much higher carbonate shale percentage, upwards to 70% in south Texas, and becomes shallower and the shale content increases as it moves to the northwest. The high percentage of carbonate makes it more brittle and therefore more conducive to hydraulic fracturing.
Oil production as of January 2018 sits at over 663,000 barrels per day. While this number is dwarfed by the nearby Permian Basin which produces approximately 2.8 million barrels per day, the Eagle Ford Shale boasts a closer proximity to the Texas Gulf Coast’s network of refineries thus making it an attractive destination for many U.S. oil and natural gas producers.
In 2017, 2123 total drilling permits were issued after a down-year of only 1,119. In just the first three months of 2018, 582 drilling permits have been issued, which puts the region on pace to rebound closer to 2015 numbers where 2,315 permits were pulled – a year Eagle Ford Shale production came in just shy of 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. This increase in activity is reflected in the number of rigs active in the basin. After suffering a couple of years of decline, the Eagle Ford Shale rig count rose sharply in 2017 – registering a 35% increase and hitting a yearly high in May at 101. At the start of 2018, the rig count stood at 83.
This amount of drilling activity needs frac sand and a lot of it. As a contiguous, unconventional oil play, wells drilled in the Eagle Ford Shale are drilled horizontally with lateral lengths extending approximately 6,500 feet with approximately 2,500 pounds of frac sand required per later foot. This totals a whopping 8 tons of frac sand per well. When new drilling projects are coupled with approximately 1,500 DUCs (drilled but uncompleted) wells in the region, frac sand demand in the Eagle Ford Shale gets big in a hurry. All told, an estimated 19 million tons of frac sand will be required each year to keep up with the current pace of activity.