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Last edited 26 Jul 2022
How Is Shale Gas Production Boosting Sale of Proppants?
Proppant refers to a solid material, primarily sand, which is used to keep open a hydraulic fracture during hydrofracking treatment. The material requires careful sorting according to its size and sphericity to optimize the productivity of an oil well. This solid material is available as ceramic, sand, and resin-coated material. Among the various types of proppants, sand has become the most popular, due to its escalating usage in the fracturing process by exploration and production (E&P) companies. At present, two types of sand are available for these companies— brown and white sand.
Apart from frac sand, the consumption of ceramic and resin-coated materials is also increasing at a significant rate, on account of their exceptional strength and better ability to withstand stress in deep wells. At present, the oil and gas companies are focusing on deep-well sites, which require high-strength proppants for hydraulic fracturing purposes. These producers are, therefore, opting for ceramic materials, as they can withstand a compression load up to 10,000 pounds per square inch. High strength of the proppants enables drillers to access much deeper shale formations.
In recent years, market players like Dow Chemical Company and Preferred Sands have amplified the production of an environment-friendly, non-phenolic resin-coated material, due to the increasing concerns regarding environmental degradation. Usage of phenolic-based resin-coated material leads to water contamination, owing to which the manufacturers have developed the new variant. The new material reduces the impact on environment and consumes less energy during its production. As the concerns for environmental degradation is increasing, the consumption of the eco-friendly proppant is also surging.
According to P&S Intelligence, North America held the top position in the proppant market, in the past. This is due to the moderate recovery in oil prices, introduction of longer laterals to increase the production of natural gas, and enhanced material loading levels in the region. Whereas, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market will register the highest growth, globally, in the coming years. This can be ascribed to the surging popularity of sand material and the rising production of non-conventional natural gas.
In these two and all the other regions on earth, though energy generation from renewable resources is picking up, oil and gas continue to be the most-popular fuels for this purpose. Additionally, most of the automobiles still run on gasoline, diesel, and compressed natural gas, which further leads to the high volume of oil and gas extraction around the world. Thus, new oil and gas reserves are being exploited on land as well as in the ocean, so that the human race keeps getting its fuel.
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