“It may take a couple of years to get production up to that level,” he said. “But we should be able to get two-thirds at home.”
Wernicke, Rick Burton and James Kress are charged with getting the new EOG plant north of Refugio up and running. Burton is out of EOG’s Fort Worth office and is in charge of operations at the facility. Kress is the construction engineer.
The three men attended the Refugio Lions Club meeting last Tuesday to give the members an update on the plant.
For the first time in 30 years, oil production has increased in this country.
“The new plays will be a shot in the arm for this country,” Wernicke said.
Currently the supply exceeds the ability to transport and process the oil and gas.
The decision to locate the sand plant in Refugio was largely a result of the ability to construct a rail hub, the large amount of land available on U.S. 77 and the proximity to the Eagle Ford Shale play.
“A requirement was that we get the train completely off the track,” Wernicke said.
Currently there are 7 1/2 miles of track on the facility. Several trains, each with 100 hopper cars, will run each week.
“It takes three to four days to arrive from Wisconsin,” he said. “We’re running at half-speed right now.”
Three grades of sand will be shipped from Wisconsin.
“All we’re doing here is handling it,” Wernicke said.
For 1 1/2 years, an average of 70-80 people will be on site every day. When the plant is up and going, somewhere between 30 and 50 will be working.
To build the rail yard, the dirt was dug creating a reservoir which is also intended to minimize upstream or downstream flooding.
Most of the sand that arrives will be used by EOG.
“It’s designed for our own use,” Wernicke said. “If we have a surplus of one grade or another and we don’t use it, we may sell some.”
The plant is equipped to handle 100 to 150 trucks per day and will operate 24 hours a day. Currently, 50 to 60 trucks are hauling from the plant. In a couple of weeks, the numbers will increase.
As the trains arrive, gates on the bottom of the car will be positioned over pits with conveyor belts that will move the sand onto bucket elevators that will take the sand to the top of any one of 10 silos. The 10 silos will hold sand from 200 train cars. Approximately 200,000 tons are stored in all 10 silos. The base of the silos is 65 by 150 feet and is four feet thick. Approximately 2,500 yards were poured for the foundation.
Three concrete plants ran around the clock during construction of the silos.
Five million pounds of sand are needed per well which is 100 trucks per well, Wernicke said.