FloPRO PPT makes sand lighter, making it easier to clean and leaves behind clear water
A new coating product that makes sand lighter than water looks to transform the fracking industry.
Preferred Sands developed its FloPRO PPT after studying what products customers were using in wells and asking them what they liked and disliked, says Michael O’Neill, founder and CEO of the company based in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
“We were looking to help the customers we sell sand to. They wanted a product that was cleaner and something to increase well productivity. The gel being used by some during the fracking process can clog wells and do damage, but FloPRO makes the sand lighter than water so it floats on top,” he says. “It leaves behind clean, clear water.”
During hydraulic fracking, fluid and materials are pumped into a well to create or restore small fractures to stimulate production from new or existing oil and gas wells. Water and sand make up nearly all of the materials used in fracking, sometimes with additives — whether it’s to the sand or the addition of a fracking fluid to the process — to speed up or improve the process.
FloPRO uses proppant transport technology with a long-lasting hydrophonic coating. When the product is applied, the sand does not feel or look differently. FloPRO is lighter and less expensive than other alternatives currently used during the fracking process, O’Neill says.
“This hydrophonic product is successful and allows companies to get more production out of the well,” he says.
After FloPRO is applied, the sand remains biodegradable and reduces the sand settling and dunning that sometimes occurs during slickwater fracs. “It improves water flow back, especially in low reservoir pressures,” O’Neill says. “It also helps limit dust exposure during all sand transfer points.”
Preferred Sands debuted FloPRO under its MultiPRO line last spring. The product is sold worldwide and the company uses multiple micro-plants to add the special coating to sand. That leads to lower transportation costs, which can then be passed on to customers.
“Our plants can coat several products, which helps with logistics and pricing,” O’Neill says. “That means less energy is required and less time is needed to get the product to customers.”
Water is a key component in the fracking process and FloPRO works with recycled and salient water. O’Neill said oil and gas companies are looking for ways to cut production costs as oil prices remain low.
“People are trying to be more competitive and using FloPRO is one way to do that since they can produce more oil at a lower cost,” O’Neill says. “We were looking for a way to help producers and this product allows us to do that. They can get more oil out of the ground at a lower cost.”
Cleanup costs on wells where FloPRO were used are lower, O’Neill added: “It leaves behind clean water and sand. That’s it.”