Sand is the second-most exploited natural resource in the world. In fact, it hit a global use of over 50 billion tons in 2022. Available frac sand is an essential agent throughout the hydraulic fracturing process, but we’re amid a worldwide sand crisis. Continue reading to learn about frac sand, its uses, benefits, and the current frac sand industry outlook.
2022 saw a considerable rise in the global frac sand market from a relatively stable industry in 2021. Key players affected the international business in 2022, and with a worldwide shortage in sand, expect to see the frac sand global market rise exponentially from 2023 to 2028.
The beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2022 has affected almost every industry for construction and manufacturing, including frac sand. Because of the blacklist on Russian oil, the world is seeking replacements for over 4 million barrels per day. When the United States’ oil production isn’t increasing, frac sand becomes more expensive.
Despite external factors, the demand for construction is still on the rise. This year, the global frac sand industry reached a market value of $6.32 billion. And it’s only getting higher. The industry is forecasted to increase by over six percent in 2023 and could reach a market value of $10 billion by 2027.
The hydraulic fracturing process was created nearly 70 years ago. It involves horizontal drilling technology opening shale reserves thousands of feet below the ground. Hydraulic fracturing uses drill bits that dig down thousands of feet, followed by a 90 degree turn through a horizontal layer of shale.
Frac sand, water, and other chemicals are added into fractures of the shale layer, releasing liquid petroleum which flows up the system for collection.
Frac sand is suspended in fluid and injected into gas and oil wells under high pressure. Once fluid pressure opens fractures, sand grain flows into the spaces. This material is crush resistant, making it optimal for hydraulic fracturing. Frac sand is pure quartz material of a round and hard uniform size. Specifically, it’s processed from high-purity sandstone, which differs from other types of sand. Other sand grain is a mixture of several types of minerals, which is less durable than quartz. Frac sand is washed, sorted, and dried before it can be shipped after hydraulic fracturing.
Wisconsin is the frac sand capital of the country, and it’s mined from sandstone formations in the central and western parts of the state.
Frac sand mining technology has exponentially increased natural gas and oil production across the country, especially in geological formations that lack the capability to allow natural flow. During a worldwide sand crisis, it’s important to define the economic benefits to show how frac sand significantly boosts the entire hydraulic fracturing operation. Here are a few positives of the proppant agent:
Frac sand has proved to be invaluable in the process of removing valuable minerals from the earth. The added natural gas and oil production increase pay levels far above the fracking business’s average pay level. The Wisconsin frac-sand mining industry has already experienced economic boosts.
Thanks to frac sand, the industry is experiencing economic vitality and evolving away from land-based operations. The abundance of natural landscapes and resources makes Wisconsin a hotbed for this process. Businesses using frac-sand mining have remained prosperous through recessions, leaving them open to focus on long-term planning operations.
Are you still researching frac sand?
Check out this article on the history of frac sand mining.
Did you know the only material we use more than water is sand? But before we jump into the 2022 sand shortage, it’s important to understand a few things:
- We are currently experiencing a global sand crisis
- The world’s industries use 50 billion metric tons of sand annually
- Sand is key for concrete, glass, and hydraulic fracturing production
Sand has steadily decreased in availability over the last two decades due to global urbanization. The global rate of sand use has tripled in that period, surpassing the natural rate of sand replenishment from weathering.
Cement is a vital construction material requiring sand, and the UN estimates that 4.1 billion tons of cement are produced annually. Even though sand usage is 12 times more than cement, our world is running short on this precious and overlooked resource. There is currently no accurate monitor for global sand use, but the UN could soon create regulations to preserve the natural resource. Because of the worldwide shortage and other external factors, the sand industry has seen a significant jump in pricing this year:
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict in Ukraine, and rising inflation, frac sand price per ton in 2022 rose from $40 to $45, soaring 16% higher from the previous year.
At Pontotoc, high-quality silica sand is the secret to successful fracking. Frac sand is the most critical element in the fracture mining process, which is why we guarantee a consistent, clean proppant that soars above industry standards. Reach out to our team today for the best sand grain material in the industry.