The proppants market is estimated to be USD 7.8 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 12.1 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 9.1% between 2020 to 2025. The improvements in fracturing technology and new drilling techniques, increasing proppants consumption per well, innovation ni proppants technologies and the growing natural gas demand to ensure energy security is driving the proppants market during the forecast period.
Proppants is treated sand or engineered ceramic material, which is used to keep fractures propped open after the fracturing treatment. Different types of proppants have different mechanical strengths to withstand high closure pressures ranging from 6,000 psi to 20,000 psi. Proppants are injected into the wellbore along with water and additives with high-pressure intensity to make the fractures. They need to be permeable to gas under high pressure. Large mesh proppants have a greater permeability at low closure stresses, whereas small mesh proppants have greater permeability at high closure stresses. Proppants used in hydraulic fracturing have a direct impact on the cost of the oil & gas production output. The Proppants selection depends on the reservoir type, closure stress, depth, and stages of fracturing.
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There are three types of proppants frac sand, resin coated proppants and ceramic proppants. Frac sand is a widely used proppant. It is a naturally occurring proppant made from high purity sandstone. These proppants are mostly applicable under closure pressure of 6,000 psi. Resin-coated proppants is frac sand proppant coated with resin to enhance its properties such as crushing rate, conductivity, and productivity. Epoxy resins, furan, polyesters, vinyl esters, and polyurethane are the major resin types used to coat frac sand. Resin-coated proppants can withstand medium closure stresses (up to 12,000 psi). Ceramic Proppants is manufactured from sintered bauxite, alumina, kaolin, and magnesium silicate, and has consistent size with sphere shape that results in improved porosity and permeability of Proppants bed. Ceramic proppants can withstand closure pressures up to 15,000 psi due to its complex molecular structure.
The major industry players are adopting strategies such as, expansions, and acquisitions to expand their global presence and increase their footprint in North America.The leading players in the market are Carbo Ceramics Inc. (US), COVIA (US, JSC Borovichi Refractories Plant (Russia), U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (US), Hi-Crush Inc. (US), Mineração Curimbaba (Brazil), Xinmi Wanli Industry Development Co., Ltd. (China), Atlas Sand Company, Llc (US), and HEXION (US).
In 2020, the proppants market declined by 27% in terms of volume, which was due to the oil price crash triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented demand shock in the oil industry in 2020 led to a historic drop in the oil prices, as governments around the world closed down businesses, issued stay-at home mandates, and restricted travel. The proppants demand is estimated to recover in 2021 with the average oil price in 2021 expected to be above 50 USD/bbl.
The companies have initiated the following developments:
- In March 2020, COVIA completed the expansion of its Canoitas facility located in Mexico. The expansion will enable COVIA to add 350 tons of annual silica production capacity to support the growth of customers in Mexico.
- In March 2020, COVIA expanded the capacbilities of its facility in North America to serve coating & polymers end-markets and create a highly efficient modern facility and the project cost was approximately USD 45 million.
- In May 2019, Hi-Crush Inc. acquired Proppant Logistics LLC which owns Pronghorn Logistics LLC. The company provides end-to end logistic services for proppants.
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