The Steinle Ranch Field was initially developed in the mid-1970's. Wells were drilled, cased, perforated, and treated by chemical injection with lease-crude or condensate carriers to restore oil saturation to the formation, which is suspected to be hydrophobic. Stimulation by hydraulic fracturing of four wells was attempted from 1975 through 1977 with mixed results and no particular success. These treatments used sand and glass beads for proppant.
A fifth hydraulic fracture treatment, in which sintered bauxite was used as the proppant was very successful. As a result, all wells in the field have been fractured. This program, in a mature field in late stages of depletion, at intermediate depth (10,600 ft.), has been very successful; approximately 940,000 barrels of additional reserves have resulted for a total cost of approximately $2,000,000, a return on investment of 9.4:1. Comparing these reserves to estimated reserves if the wells had been propped with sand shows a 23:1 return by the incremental reserves on the incremental cost of the bauxite.