Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/15/2012 -- Hydraulic fracturing is propagation of fractures through layers of rock using pressurized fracturing fluid. This technique is primarily used in the extraction of resources from low permeability reservoirs such as shale gas, tight gas, and unconventional liquids; which are difficult to recover through regular drilling procedures.
In this process fracturing fluid is used. It consists of water, proppant, chemical additives, and guar gum. Proppant is the most integral constituent of the fracturing fluid after water. Proppant material keeps the generated fractures propped open and helps continued oil and gas recovery.
The hydraulic fracturing market is mainly concentrated in North America; hence the demand for proppant is largest here, many leading oil field service companies operate. Hence, proppant production is also much bigger than rest of the world. All the big oilfield service companies are operating in the U.S. There are several important players in North American proppant market such as Cadre Proppants (U.S.), Momentive (U.S.), Saint Gobain Proppants (U.S.), Carbo Ceramics (U.S.), and many other small companies in frac sand business.
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While the North American hydraulic fracturing market is nearly reaching maturity, Rest of the World's (ROW) market is still in its infancy stage. However, ROW has significant share in global proppant manufacturing. Proppants are exported from manufacturing centers such as China, Russia, Brazil, and India to the demand center of North America.
Proppant production in ROW accounts for about 20% of the global production. However, production in this region is expected to grow at a higher CAGR of 15.8% due to two main reasons. First, players in low cost manufacturing destinations such as India and China are expected to multiply due to the export opportunities to North America. In addition, hydraulic fracturing is poised to take off in some countries such as Poland and China. Production is also expected to commence to cater to these new demand centers. The Chinese manufacturers have started to capture the share of the proppant market especially in North America.
Currently, there are three main types of proppants: frac sand, resin coated proppants (RCP), and ceramic proppants. Each proppant type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and reservoir engineers decide on the type to be used depending on geology, availability, prices, and Government regulations.
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