This Week’s Market Buzz

• Oil prices have slipped recently, pulling back from recent gains as exports from key OPEC producers rose and despite news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia. The oil market has been in consolidation mode after a sharp rally between mid-June and late July pushed U.S. crude futures above $50 a barrel for the first time in several weeks. The price slipped back below $50 and has traded around that number as world supply has been slow to draw down. "It's just unable to break above $50," said Kyle Cooper, consultant for ION Energy in Houston. "It's boring, but there's a fundamental justification for prices being stuck between $45 and $55 without a significant geopolitical event."

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• A recent note released by Credit Suisse outlines the current development in frac sand supply and demand. Total U.S. demand for frac sand was highest in 2014, when the country consumed 56 million tons. Demand fell off during the downturn, and in 2015 and 2016 the U.S. consumed 48 and 34 million tons of sand, respectively. Increased activity has meant demand for sand is likely to break records in 2017, with 73 million tons of demand projected. More and more wells are being completed, according to the EIA. In 2016, an average of 590 wells were completed each month. In 2017, completions have been growing steadily, and 872 wells were completed in June.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• The Coulee Frac Sand mine in the town of Alma, Wis., requested a conditional use permit at a recent Zoning and Land Information Committee meeting to expand its non-metallic mining operation, according to the Jackson County Chronicle. Coulee Frac is looking to dredge within 300 ft. of a shoreland zone near the east fork of Halls Creek, which requires a conditional use permit.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• Recent oil price gains have eased after government data indicated that U.S. crude stocks have plunged more than expected as imports have declined and drillers pumped more product. Crude inventories fell by 7.6 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.9 million barrels. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 9 cents, or 1 percent, at $47.43 a barrel. U.S. crude gained 17 cents to $45.21.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

• The Jackson County, Wis., Board of Adjustment approved a variance request by Taylor Frac to allow for a second sand screener and storage structure to be built at its current facility near Taylor, Wis. According to the Jackson City Chronicle, the structure will stand to a height of 105 ft., which is higher than the maximum structure height of 45 ft. allowed by the Jackson County zoning ordinance. The new structure will be nearly identical to the current sand screener and storage structure that received its own zoning variance in 2012. The two buildings will be separated by 25 ft. and have a bridge that will connect the two for maintenance access. There will also be an additional wash sand pile that will be added to feed the drying structure.

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