Oil and gas companies using hydraulic fracturing are expected to continue to ramp up their use of frac sand in their drilling operations. According to Tudor Pickering Holt, drillers have stepped up sand use in order to make wells more productive, rising from 3 million lb. per well in 2013 to 5 million lb. per well in 2014, to 8 million lb. per well this year. That should continue to rise to about 11 million lb. per well in the near future as drilling picks up pace. On the high end, some producers are even using 15 to 20 million lb. per well in the Permian, and 30 to 50 million lb. per well in the Haynesville. Tudor Pickering Holt said that frac sand producers should benefit from the trend.
The Winona County, Minn., Planning Commission voted 5-3 to recommend that the county board limit the number of frac sand mines allowed in the county, not ban them altogether. After a months-long citizen campaign led by the Land Stewardship Project, the county board asked the planning commission to consider a ban on new industrial sand mining, loading and processing in rural parts of the county. The county does not have authority over frac sand operations within city limits.
According to Oilprice.com, Russian President Vladimir Putin is keen to reach an agreement with OPEC to freeze oil production in hopes of prices regaining strength. With the U.S. shale boom supplying most of North America, OPEC has increased production to maintain their market share. This has caused massive price reductions, putting many countries at a loss. Two years ago crude oil was priced at around $100/barrel, but in today’s inundated market it rests below $50.