Frac Sand Weekly News Digest

Nick Cook, Editor

Issue #306 | January 13, 2021

Some day I might learn that the frac sand industry will never settle into a quiet, predictable routine.  Just when it appeared that things would settle down to a subdued new normal, things go haywire.  Crude is up, trucks and frac sand are needed and in short supply…at least for now.  About half of this week’s articles are from Infill Thinking (which requires a subscription with them), but I can’t help it if Infill Thinking is the only one really covering frac sand right now.  And it would be a disservice to our readers to not include links to their coverage.  If you work in the frac sand industry and do not yet have a subscription, sign up.  It is worth the price of admission (and we do not get any commissions for sending people their way!).

Also, over the past month I have received many inquiries regarding buying and selling frac sand equipment.  I hope to carve out time in the next week to respond to each of those inquiries and to start providing introductions.  Thank you for your patience.  If you are interested in talking to people about buying or selling equipment, please feel free to shoot me a note to initiate a discussion (pcook@petroleumconnection.com).

And now, the news…

This Week's News

Will The Sand Mines Be Ready To Meet 2021 Demand?

Many mines have underinvested in maintaining reliability of supply or reduced capacity because of unsustainably low prices. As oil prices rally now, 1Q21 will put the frac sand supply chain to the test.

Rig Count Rises as Oil Crosses $50 Milestone

The number of drilling rigs operating in the U.S. rose this week as crude prices crossed the $50 milestone.

Big Drilling Momentum As 2021 Begins…

The US land rig count powered through the holiday season and is up 38% (+95 rigs) since the start of the fourth quarter of 2020.

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Is In-Basin Sand the Best Choice? A Look at Economics, Conductivity, and Performance

AOGR December issues has an article focused on this important topic.

Permian Operator Opens Up About Mobile Mini Sand Plant

In an IR slide deck first released in December and then again this week, Laredo Petroleum has shared details about their deployment of one of Hi-Crush’s OnCore mobile mini frac sand plants.

U.S. Supreme Court Tosses Review of Minnesota County Fracture Sand Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition that sought to overturn a Minnesota county ordinance banning the mining of silica sand, which is used in some Lower 48 well completions.

Tense Trucking Situation Persists As Getting Sand To Fracs Proves Difficult In Early-2021

After numerous conversations with industry contacts – including pumpers, operators, and haulers – over the past several days, Infill Thinking provides the latest on this situation.

Sand Hauler Recruiting Is A Tougher Task In The Pandemic Era

This week, all the talk in frac sand insider circles has been about the sand hauling chaos. Here are three recent Infill Thinking pieces on this development:

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AAR: ‘Railroads Looking to the Future’

U.S. rail traffic by the end of the 2020 reporting year was “close to pre-pandemic levels, sparked by sharply higher grain and intermodal shipments along with the reopening of auto assembly plants,” Association of American Railroads (AAR) Senior Vice President John T. Gray said on Jan. 6.

Operators Are Laser-Focused On This Single Disruptive Frac Innovation As 2021 Begins

Infill Thinking discusses operators’ answers to the question “Which emerging frac and frac supply chain innovation will “make the most noise” (i.e. best adoption rate) in 2021?”

Oil and Gas Market Collapse Plagued Southeast New Mexico's Economy in Late 2020

An economic downturn struck southeast New Mexico in late 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic and business restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus created a slump in fuel demand and reduction in fossil fuel development.

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