Frac Sand’s Current Bottlenecks

Over the past week or so, we’ve caught up with some of our contacts in the industry about some of the brief, high-level issues going on in the frac sand supply chain world right now.


One of the biggest issues we’re hearing about right now is related to tight frac sand supply across the board. Frac Sand Mines are running at capacity, but still slightly lower than demand. Specifically, the need to fulfill contracts and allocations is keeping it tight. Drivers are waiting until the clock strikes midnight to get filled once the clock strikes midnight. Lines to get filled with sand are long… While we’re hearing averages of around 2 hours in parts of the Permian, 3 – 4 hours is standard in other basins and we’ve heard of trucks waiting 12-14 idled in places like the Haynesville.


As a result, more railed NWS is coming down to Texas to decrease risk of NPT and increase reliability. However, we’ve heard through the grapevine that rail has recently been experiencing some hiccups. Hopefully, the situation resolves itself quickly as delays anywhere in frac sand supply have ripple effects.


According to Isaiah Martinez, president of SandShark Oilfield Services, the driver situation has gotten much better as rates have climbed. However, parts for maintenance are still running at a premium due to low supply and availability.


Another issue that’s starting to really affect the sand supply chain in the Permian is the roads. Greg Lanham, CEO of Sand Revolution, told us, “Congestion on the roads resulting from truck traffic is a challenge that is growing daily.” It will be interesting to see if these issues become less as mini mobiles become more active and Atlas’ conveyor comes online (granted, that’s not a for a while).

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