This Week’s Market Buzz

• The possibility of a renewed demand for western Wisconsin’s frac sand in 2017 was discussed on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The West Side” program on Dec. 12 on 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls. Host Rich Kremer was joined by guests Rich Budinger, operations manager for Fairmont Santrol, and Samir Nangia, a director of consulting with IHS Energy Insight. With oil prices on the rise once again, some experts are saying the resulting increase in drilling will bring the demand for frac sand back to the level it was at in 2014. In preparation for this renewed demand, companies including Hi-Crush Proppants, Superior Silica Sands and Fairmont Santrol have begun to add resources and rehire workers at facilities across western Wisconsin. Listen to the report here.

• Superior Silica Sands CEO Rick Shearer said oil prices are recovering and drillers are using up to 30 percent more sand per well in order to extract more oil and natural gas. As reported in Business North, he said that with more drilling comes more demand for Wisconsin frac sand. “We’re thinking that the market will probably be about 33 to 35 million tons of frac sand in 2016, and we think there’s a very good likelihood that the frac sand demand in 2017 will be at least 50 to 55 million tons. So, that would take us back to 2014 levels.”

• Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, which operates its mobile sand silos in the Midland and Delaware basins in Texas, intends to triple the production rate at its Early, Texas, manufacturing facility. “Our customers continue to increase their completion intensity, drilling wells with longer lateral lengths, increasing the numbers of stages fractured per well and using higher concentrations of sand per lateral foot,” William Zartler, Solaris chairman and chief executive told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “As these trends continue, the demand for frac sand will continue to grow.” His company is forecasting a 100 percent increase in demand for 2017, with anticipated deliveries of proppant rising to 9 million tons, compared with expected 2016 deliveries of 4.5 million tons.

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