Frac sand in ambient air does not pose a health concern for Winona residents, according to the Winona Daily News. The first look at eight months’ worth of air monitoring data in downtown Winona, Minn., showed silica sand was, for the most part, undetectable. Only two samples taken from state monitors between January and August detected silica in the air, and both were well below the health standard set by the Minnesota Department of Health. “There isn’t a silica-related health issue in Winona at this time,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesperson Jeff Hedman during a special meeting with local officials and the public, where MPCA officials presented results taken from air monitors on top of the YMCA.
As Williston Basin operators accelerate the use of sand for hydraulic fracturing – as much as 6 million lb. per well in some cases – there is an even bigger ramp up in new sand mines in Wisconsin and unloading terminals in North Dakota, according to Big Sky Business. EDG Resources, for example, uses 1,000 lb. of sand per lateral foot – about 2.5 to 5 times higher than proppant used on the average Bakken well. Some estimates put the proppant market in North America to exceed 1 billion lb. – worth $10 billion – by 2017. One projection from PacWest, estimates the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian and Appalachia plays will account for 83 billion lb. by 2015 – accounting for 75 percent of the total U.S. proppant consumption. Even with the expansion, operators still cannot get enough sand. “They are bringing in sand by trucks from Wisconsin,” said Gabe Claypool, president and CEO of Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc., “because they cannot get enough sand cars. The railroads cannot keep up with the demand.”
Carbo Ceramics recently reported that average selling prices per lb. for proppants sold during the second quarter of 2014 were as follows: Ceramic, $0.33; Resin Coated Sand, $0.21; and Northern White Sand, $0.03. Primarily due to the change in product mix, the average selling price per lb. of all proppant was $0.21 during the second quarter of 2014 compared to $0.30 for the same period in 2013. In addition to product mix, average selling prices can be impacted by sales prices, geographic areas of sale, customer requirements and delivery methods.