Proppant use seems to be settling at 400,000 pounds of 100 mesh sand per stage in the Eagle Ford Shale, or between 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per lateral foot, according to Hart Energy’s Heard in the Field survey.

Sand use is averaging 10.3 million pounds per lateral among survey participants, unchanged since the last survey in March. Participants noted average spacing between stages at 266 feet, little changed from the previous survey.

Although, the operators employing greater spacing between stages are also adding more perforation clusters, participants said.

The number of perforation sets between stages grew to four or five in this survey vs. three or four in the previous survey. The technique is boosting IPs and sustaining production rates longer before decline sets in.

However, wells that have undergone high density stimulation are also exhibiting an increase in first year decline rates to more than 45%. This is partially offset by greater cumulative production as operators improve harvest close to the wellbore.

Slickwater, plug and perf and 100 mesh sand are the most commonly cited completion techniques by survey participants.

When commodity prices were higher, operators used a mix of slickwater and gels, though operators have cut back gel usage in the low commodity price environment.

Zipper fracks increased market share in this survey, a trend counter to other plays.

Survey participants noted zipper fracks, or batch completions, on 48% of work over the last 90 days, up from 39% in March. Batch completions reduce the time to bring wells online by 20%, according to survey respondents.

Watch for the next Heard In The Field report on the Eagle Ford downhole completions market in August.

Part I. – Survey Findings

Among Survey Participants:

  • Slickwater Completions Most Common
    [See Question 1 on Statistical Review]
    All eight respondents reported that slickwater is most common in the region, with one consultant using gel with resin-coated sand on a few wells.
    • Mid-Tier Operator: “The most common completions now are slickwater with 100 mesh sand. The results are best with 400,000 pounds of sand per stage.”
  • No Changes Expected In Near-Term
    [See Question 2 on Statistical Review]
    ​All respondents expect few or no changes in the near term. Sand types and methods are reportedly staying the same on horizontal wells in the Eagle Ford. However, a few respondents mentioned increasing perf sets in a stage and increasing sand volumes to more than 400,000 pounds per stage.
    • Mid-Tier Provider: “There are results that show more perf sets and higher sand volumes continue to improve production. Real substantial changes won’t occur until price of oil improves.”
  • Spacing Between Frack Stages Averages 266 Feet
    [See Questions 3a, 3b, 3c on Statistical Review]
    ​Spacing ranges between 250 feet to 300 feet in the play and averages about 266 feet, similar to findings in the March report. Several respondents reported spacing of about 300 feet with more perf sets per stage.
    • Mid-Tier Operator: “We now set four to five perf sets in a stage and try to get 500,000 pounds of sand per stage if the formation will take it. This has given us very high initial production rates as well as good averages following.”
  • Plug And Perf Most Common Fracking Technique
    [See Question 4 on Statistical Review]
    ​All eight respondents reported that plug and perf completions are the standard fracking technique in the Eagle Ford. No one reported using sliding sleeves.
    • Top-Tier Service Provider: “The plug and perf slickwater frack definitely works well here. When prices were up, we used a combination of slickwater and gel, but at these prices we hold to slickwater for most clients.”
  • Refrack Still Small Percentage Of Frack Work
    [See Question 5a and 5b on Statistical Review]
    ​Respondents agreed that refracking is limited to only a few wells, similar to findings in March. Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is doing the largest volume of refracks and remedial stimulation work in the play, all respondents agreed.
    • Mid-Tier Operator: “Halliburton has maintained top market share in both new wells and refrack.”
  • Multiwell Pads Average ~4 Wells
    [See Question 6 on Statistical Review]
    ​The average number of wells reported per pad is about four with reports ranging from four to six wells per pad in the region, similar to findings in March.
    • Mid-Tier Operator: “Four to six wells per pad is common. These pads will also accommodate additional wells when needed.”
  • Zipper Fracks Account For 48% Of Completions; Solo Fracks Account For Remainder
    [See Question 7 on Statistical Review]
    ​The percentage of zipper frack completions reported among respondents is 48%, up somewhat from the 39% reported in March. The remaining 52% wells are fracked using the solo frack on one well at a time.
    • Top-Tier Operator: “Zipper fracks save up to 20% of frack time, but many aren’t ready to frack all wells yet and the DUC backlog continues to grow.”
  • Sand Remains Most Common Proppant
    [See Question 8a and 8b on Statistical Review]
    Natural sand is reported as the most common proppant in the region and averages ~10.3 million pounds per well, about the same volume as reported in March. A total of 99% of proppant reported is natural sand in the Eagle Ford. Resin sand is still in use with 1% of wells.
  • Four Perf Sets Per Stage Most Common
    [See Question 9a and 9b on Statistical Review]
    Several respondents reported four to five perf sets per stage with enhanced horizontal completions methods currently. The average number of perf sets has risen to four sets per stage average in Eagle Ford, up from three to four perf sets per stage reported in March.

End Survey Findings

Survey Demographics

H A R T E N E R G Y researchers completed interviews with eight industry participants in the downhole completions segment in the Eagle Ford region. Participants include four sales professionals with fracking companies and four completion consultants for E&P companies. Interviews were conducted during late May 2016.

Part II. – Statistical Review

Downhole Completions

[Eagle Ford]

Total Respondents = 8

[Fracking service providers = 4, Completion consultants = 4]

1. What common practices are used in your area for completions?



Crosslink Gel:


*One respondent using gel occasionally said there was very little use currently.

2. Do you see that changing over the next three to six months?

No changes expected:


3a. Is spacing between stages closer now than a year ago?



3b. What is the average distance between frack stages in your area?

250-foot spacing:


251-foot to 300-foot spacing:


Average spacing:

~266 feet

4. What fracking technique is most common in your area?

Plug and perf:


5a. Looking at the number of total frack jobs in your area, what percentage are new fracks and what percentage are refracks?

New wells average:


Refrack average:


5b. Which fracking company in your area is doing the most new frack work?



5c. What company is doing the most refracks in your area?



6. What is the average number of wells being completed per pad in your area?

4 wells:


4-6 wells:



~4 wells per pad

7. What percentage of fracks drilled from pads are zipper fracks vs. individual fracks?

Zipper Frack

Solo Frack

# Responses













Average 48%

Average 52%


8a. How much proppant (in pounds) are you using per well?

8-10 million pounds:


11-12 million pounds:


Average per well:

~10.3 million pounds

8b. On a percentage basis, how much proppant in your area is used by type?

Average Among Respondents

Natural sand only:


Resin-coated sand:


9a. How many perf clusters are typical between stages?

Range of 3 to 5

Average 4

9b. Is that more or less than six months ago?



Same stages and four to five perf sets:


End Statistical Survey