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Family Firm Turns Frac Sand Bags Into Fashion Items

A family firm in Argentina is turning frac sandbags used in the Vaca Muerta shale play into shoes, handbags, and purses, Reuters has reported.

The company, aptly named Fracking Design, was set up by three sisters, uses the so-called Big Bags originally used for frac sand, which it processes and mixes with waste leather to produce its fashion items.

"A well uses approximately between 30,000 and 40,000 tons of sand. That's about 26,500 bags," says one of the founders of the company, Ornella Basilotta. The plastic that the company recycled during its production process, according to Basilotta, was "equivalent to 1,100 trees that would be needed to absorb the carbon dioxide that these sacks would generate if they had been burned."

The Vaca Muerta shale formation is one of the largest in the world, estimated to hold recoverable resources of some 16 billion barrels of crude oil as well as 308 trillion cu ft of natural gas. The gas resources make the Vaca Muerta the world's second-largest natural gas reservoir.

Before the pandemic, the Vaca Muerta attracted a lot of attention from Big Oil majors. During the pandemic, the play suffered from a drop in production as oil prices tanked amid the destruction of demand. Now, however, the Dead Cow is bouncing back and production is back to growth.

The Buenos Aires Times reported recently that Shell and Argentina's state-owned energy player YPF planned to invest some $300 million in the Vaca Muerta play over the next two years, aiming for daily production rates of 15,000 barrels of crude by 2024.

YPF, which is the biggest operator in the Vaca Muerta, said this week that it expected a robust financial performance for the final quarter of the year amid rising oil and gas production.

"There a little more because gas production grew. The sale of fuels is almost pre-pandemic levels. Plus the higher production of crude oil," said YPF president Pablo Gonzalez, as quoted by Reuters. "The fact we are showing a recovery of this type this year, I think it's good."

By Irina Slav for

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Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. More