Frac Sand Blues

RR071020 CDE

July 10, 2020 – It’s not a good time to be a frac sand producer. With oil prices still hovering around $40 per barrel, and no COVID-19 end in sight, frac sand producers are falling like dominoes. Recent developments include bankruptcies from major producers Covia, Hi-Crush and Vista Proppants and Logistics. While these companies are not going away – they are restructuring debt and trying to find a new normal – there is no mistaking that the carnage is real. Well production is low. Frac sand operations have closed and workers have been laid off. And there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. If there is any positive news, it comes out of Canada, where the Alberta government has proposed legislation that would redefine “minerals” and “pits,” allowing about 500 sand projects to proceed without having to submit environmental impact assessments. Now if there is a market for the sand products, we will have something to hang our hat on.

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