The Atlas Challenge
These days, it's easy for proppant companies to say their product is the best. Every week a different proppant supplier is in your office, showing you charts and figures that make claims about their product performance.
Atlas Resin Proppants doesn't operate that way, and neither do our customers. We've been looking at what our competitors are telling you about their products. What we've found is simply shocking:
Stim-Lab recently reported that a modification to their conductivity cells has reduced some conductivity measurements by as much as 50%! Conductivity cells were changed over between 2006 and 2007 to the new configuration which begs the question: It’s 2017, do you know when your proppant was last tested?
Figure 1: Side-by-side data (same scales) comparison of pre-2007 and post-2007 Stim-Lab conductivity data detailing the significant difference in measurement as a result of the modification to the conductivity cell.
Let’s talk substrate. The raw sand upon which a resin coated sand is built has an overwhelming impact on the finished product. Most coated proppants are 2-5% coating by weight, the remaining 95-98% is the substrate (Northern White Frac Sand in our case). Because the coating itself makes up such a small percentage of the finished product it is easy to see that applying a coating to a proppant does little to nothing to alter the particle size distribution, Krumbein Roundness or Sphericity. That is why substrate matters! If a coating company sources their raw sand from a different mine one week to the next, or that mine decides to fine out their particle size distribution to improve yield (the opening on a 20 sieve is double that of a 40 sieve after all), the product you’re expecting and the product you receive will be drastically different!
Figure 2: Estimated performance of an extremely coarse 20/40 resin coated sand (MPD of 840 Microns) and an extremely fine 20/40 resin coated sand (MPD of 420 Microns). While both theoretical products are API 20/40 resin coated sand, the range in performance as a result of difference in mean particle diameter is very significant.
Which brings us to the bottom line
Proppants continue to make up a huge portion of the total costs of drilling and completing a well – especially when pumping specialty proppants. With the money being invested, there is an expectation of performance that could be based entirely on false data (old tests, substrate changes, etc.). Proppant selection is a major decision: whether you are concerned over the quality of the proppant you are using, or just curious about how what you are pumping stacks up against our line of products, we invite you to Take the Atlas Challenge!