What Tier Sand Should You Use for Your Well? Practical Use of Data Analytics to Determine Proppant Type and Quality

Sedillos, Lia (Covia Corp.) | Roundtree, Russell (IHS Markit) | Saxena, Jayant (Colorado School of Mines) | Convers, Carlos (Consultant) | Dean, Elio (Colorado School of Mines)


This paper presents a data driven approach to answer the question of whether premium, high strength white sand proppant, while more expensive than regional (brown) sand, is justified due to its alleged ability to make better producing wells. For this study, 739 horizontal wells with production, and stimulation data were used in a robust statistical approach to conclude that, for the most common set of well characteristics, white sand will produce a superior NPV weighted economic outcome than lower cost regional (brown) sand alternatives. While there are wells in this analysis that did not produce this robust conclusion of "white sand is better", none of them produced an outcome that "brown sand was better". Rather, several of the wells simply had results that were statistically inconclusive. This paper serves as a good example of what data are needed to perform such an analysis and the challenges of normalizing'first order effects' that dominate the influence on well productivity (TVD, lateral length, and proppant intensity) while attempting to ascertain the influence of'second order' factors such as Sand Type. Becoming familiar and adept at these analysis methods should facilitate the statistical verification of other second order effects on finding the optimal stimulation treatment.