Thursday, November 24, 2011

Frac Boom Has Triggered A Huge Sand Boom: Demand for Frac Sand is Jumping Through the Roof

FT.COM -- "Gas and oil production from shale rocks has triggered a corollary boom underground as drillers demand billions of pounds of sand. The hydraulic fracturing process that has brought new hydrocarbon supplies to the US relies on massive injections of water and chemicals to break open rocks. Sand is also pumped into wells as a form of scaffolding.

Sand miners are now racing to expand operations, attracting the attention of private equity investors. One, US Silica Holdings, has disclosed plans to raise $200m through a public offering.

“It’s a gold rush,” said Thomas Dolley, mineral commodity specialist at the US Geological Survey. “Demand for ‘frac sand’ is jumping through the roof.”

In 2010, US frac sand production doubled to 13m tons as drilling activity increased and new mines opened, Mr. Dolley said. Hydraulic fracturing consumed about 40% of U.S. industrial sand output last year, up from 27% in 2009. Annual demand for frac sand has since soared further to about 22 million tons. Each drilling job can swallow up to 10 million pounds of sand."

HT: Robert Kuehl

7 Comments:

At 11/24/2011 5:12 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Sand and gravel is already the nations largest mining business.

 
At 11/24/2011 5:16 PM, Blogger Pitchman said...

Where is the sand being mined and what is the impact?

 
At 11/24/2011 5:46 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Will any sand do the job?

No, frac sand must >99% quartz, as well as other specs by the American Petroleum Institute based on:

Grain Size,
Sphericity and Roundness,
Crush Resistence,
Solubility and
Turbidity.

Maybe a new Discovery reality show series is coming titled Frac Sand Prospectors, since Gold Rush is so popular?

 
At 11/24/2011 7:28 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

We also experimented with use of hydrophilic plastic that generated tremendous pressure as it absorbed water similar to the way the Egyptians split rock.

 
At 11/24/2011 7:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The crew I worked with claimed to use different kind and size of sand, based on the surrounding rock. Then, to support the different size of sand they altered the surfactant and lubricant to get it to flow.

 
At 11/25/2011 8:43 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Could this 'ongoing & open' study throw some cold water on this sand boom?

Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma

 
At 11/25/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How much energy do you suppose it takes to dig up 10 million pounds of sand? And what do you suppose happens to the price of an input when demand outstrips supply?

 

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