And getting more complex, along with the ceramics that have joined the proppant ranks. Meanwhile, growing demand, shrinking mesh sizes typify changes for the proppant industry.
Ceramic proppants from more common clay now on the horizon
Today’s ceramic proppants come either from overseas — Brazil, Russia or China — or from the “kaolin belt” in Georgia and eastern Alabama. That is because they must contain either kaolin or bauxite to work in current formulations.
Austin-based Brownwood Clay Holdings, LLC, (BCH) is announcing the development of a method for making ceramic proppant out of a type of clay found near many of the top shale formations which, if proven commercially viable, could slash the cost and the delivery time for this type of proppant.
Technology draws bead on hydraulic fracturing
J.R. Ewing never mentioned ceramic proppant on “Dallas.” Nor is it part of the plot in “Promised Land.”
But that’s Hollywood. Drilling in the vast shale fields of Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere in the United States may not look much different from the drilling many people remember from earlier booms, but the technology used to break apart shale rocks – and hold the cracks open, allowing fossil fuels to flow into the well – has created a new wave of entrepreneurs.
Brownwood Clay Holdings, LLC (BCH) announced a revolutionary development that will significantly expand source minerals from which ceramic proppants can be produced and the locations in which they can be manufactured. With the introduction of formulations for TEXFloat, TEXLite, TEXRes, and TEXProp ceramic proppant—which is used in hydraulic fracturing— can now be manufactured near the shale plays where it is used, increasing availability and decreasing the time and expense associated with transporting the product.
New technologies break ground in proppants and bauxite
There’s just enough time for me to acknowledge a couple of intriguing news items on two separate technological breakthroughs on mineral processing. And what timing! If you were to ask me, which two mineral products are in demand, I’d say refractory grade bauxite and ceramic proppants.