LWP BLOG Optimal mix boosts our proppants’ strength and cuts costs

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Optimal mix boosts our proppants’ strength and cuts costs

A highly-respected laboratory in Germany has given a strong validation to the proppants we’re making in India.

LWP and our joint venture partner Hallmark commissioned tests from the laboratory as part of the upgrade of the joint venture’s proppant plant in Pune, India.

The test work was conducted on some of our newly developed proppants, which are made mainly of Indian fly-ash and clay – but we’ve also been trying out various mixes of raw materials because there are many different ones available around Pune.

The tests looked at a number of these different mixes and showed that the variety of raw materials around Pune allows the joint venture to manufacture excellent quality, light weight, low-cost, high-strength proppants.

The tests also showed that we don’t need to use bauxite in the optimal mix design.

That’s good news because bauxite was the most expensive raw material input of those we were considering. This will significantly reduce our raw material costs.

The tests showed that the optimal mix had a markedly higher content of fly-ash than previous mix designs. Because fly-ash is the lowest-cost raw material input, this will further lower our costs.

The optimal mix – with bauxite eliminated and a high percentage of fly-ash in the mix design – resulted in the lightest-weight proppant we’ve ever produced. We’re not aware of any clay-based or bauxite-based proppants that can compare to LWP’s proppants in terms of light weight.

Even better news was that not using bauxite caused no loss of compressive strength.

Traditional industry knowledge and experience says that if you want to increase the compressive strength of proppants, you need to increase the proportion of bauxite in the mix design. But tests of our bauxite-free optimal mix design achieved 11,000 pounds per square inch compressive strength, a level that was unexpected.

Achieving this without any bauxite at all is remarkable.

Finally, the latest mix design required a lower sintering temperature – which indicates that we’ll make savings in energy costs too at the Pune plant.

We’re confident that these test results should lead to increased interest in LWP’s low-cost proppants from oil and gas companies and contractors, both in India and around the world. The proppants that the joint venture can make will appeal to the market, both on the grounds of cost-competitiveness without any loss in compressive strength.

We want to stress that the testing was performed by Drend Solutions, whose principal is Dr Ralph Enderle, who was our chief scientist until July 2016.

Dr Enderle continues to perform work for LWP so we are unable to describe the tests as independent. However, we expect the results will be of great interest to proppants users.

The great test results come on top of the recent issue of a US patent protecting the intellectual property in our lightweight high-strength fly ash-based proppants.

To cap a series of good news, the equipment evaluation for the Pune plant upgrade is almost completed. All we are waiting on is the third-party expert evaluation of the estimated output capacity of the primary sintering kiln. We expect these results very soon.

So it should come as no surprise to hear that Hallmark and we are optimistic about the joint venture and can’t wait to get started