With increased interest from the public around the role of fracking, a new product is making the task a little safer for the environment.

Since most frac jobs require millions of gallons of water that is typically delivered by trucks making hundreds of trips, the carbon footprint and cost of transportation can be prohibitive.

In addition, large, heavy, expensive steel storage tanks are often used which, in turn, can damage the ground they sit on and be as costly to remove as they were to purchase. Steel tanks can also have a long wait time – from purchase to delivery – depending on the inventory available which can hold up well site exploration and development.

Collapsible tank advantages

Collapsible tanks ensure complete isolation from surface soil and water and significantly reduce truck traffic to and from the site (and its related carbon footprint). In fact, one semi-truck can transport 24 tanks with a combined storage capacity of an astounding 1,200,000 USG (28,800 BBLs (US) or 4560 m3). It would take 57 trucks to transport the same storage capacity in standard 500 BBL steel tanks.

Leading manufacturer, SEI Industries, offers a collapsible pillow-style FRAC Tank designed specifically for oil and gas industry that is easy to set-up and can be used immediately with almost no site preparation required. The tanks are lightweight, fully collapsible, environmentally-friendly and don’t damage the ground beneath them. One individual FRAC Tank can store 50,000 USG (1200 BBLs (US) or 190 m3). In a day, using a manifold system, multiple tanks can be set-up to provide whatever volume of storage is required. Even better, SEI’s FRAC Tank can be acquired in half the time it takes to get a steel tank.

Punishing conditions and frequent relocations

It all sounds great but can collapsible FRAC tanks stand up to frequent moves and harsh field conditions? Fortunately, the answer is yes. SEI’s FRAC tanks are constructed from a proprietary industrial fabric that is high-strength and high abrasion and chemical-resistant. Colored in high-visibility safety orange, it’s ideal for use in winter temperatures as low as -50 C where it can be folded and unfolded in extreme cold. The FRAC Tank can also be used constantly with heated fluids up to +72 C (with limited exposure to +82 C liquids). In addition, the tank’s low profile design helps to maintain its fluid temperatures better compared to vertical steel tanks.

Another feature of this unique fabric is its high resistance to abrasion — an important aspect when tanks are continually moved from site to site. Common tank fabrics have abrasion resistance of 6,000-13,000 cycles while SEI’s FRAC tank fabric has a 73,000 cycle abrasion resistance to handle the wear and tear of continual movements. Recently, SEI also launched its optional mechanized Frac Tank Deployment System (FTDS) which allows the quick unroll and roll-up of tanks while also significantly reducing the staff required.