Proppants to See Strong Demand in North America
Frac sand is the most widely used proppant in the U.S., while resin-coated and ceramic sands are used for specific applications that involve higher production depths and thermal resistance.
According to a recent report from Mordor Intelligence, the North American proppants market (by volume) is expected to register a CAGR of over 6.9% from 2018-2023. The demand for proppants is likely to be driven by the industrialization and increasing demand for energy, which have led to improvements in hydraulic fracturing technologies and commercial extraction of unconventional gases.
The industry is seeing increasing use of frac sand in terms of quantity per well. Frac sands are mixed with water and various chemicals to fracture shale formations to unleash oil and natural gas reserves. Companies have produced premium-quality frac sand that is coated with an oily resin that allows crude oil to slip past easily. The manufacturing of higher quality frac sands is expected to augment the demand for frac sands. In addition, in response to the upcoming demand for frac sands, the largest providers of fracking services have more than doubled their fleets of railcars and increased the capacity of their sand terminals, where sand is reloaded from trains to trucks. The trend of further optimization techniques in fracking is boosting the demand for frac sand per well.
Due to its efficiency, low cost, and easy availability, the volumetric share of frac sand in the North American proppant market has increased from 80% in 2012 to around 95% in 2017. In North America, frac sand proppants are the most widely used category of proppants for hydraulic fracturing. Frac sand proppants are made of highly pure and durable sand with round grains. They are mainly made out of sandstone or bauxite. Their size ranges from about 0.1 mm in diameter to 2 mm in diameter, depending on the requirement of the fracking job.
The U.S. accounted for 71.7% of the North American market in 2017. The amount of oil produced from hydraulically fractured wells has been increasing significantly, in comparison to the oil produced from conventionally fractured wells. The number of hydraulically fractured wells has grown to approximately 300,000.
Increasing hydraulic fracturing applications in the U.S., especially for shale gas and tight oil purposes, have had a positive impact on the demand for proppants. Frac sand is the most widely used proppant, while resin-coated and ceramic sands are used for specific applications that involve higher production depths and thermal resistance. Despite the recent drop in crude oil prices, U.S. natural gas exports are soaring, thus bolstering demand from the key shale production formations.
For more information, visit www.mordorintelligence.com.