Frac sand professionals who were able to attend the 5th Annual Frac Sand Supply & Logistics Conference came away with a lot of information
to consider for future business opportunities. Here is my opinion on the top takeaways from the conference:
Nearly everyone I talked to and heard from mentioned a guarded optimism in general for the industry. However, what was a bit surprising, is that they personally
were very busy and had been for a few months. In nearly every case, they (nearly everyone) preferred to keep that fact quiet. Mines are increasing
capacity, investing to expand capacity, and sand is being purchased and moved.
When Sites Need Sand, They Need a Lot of it!
As a result, we’re seeing an increase in demand for unit trains, efficient last mile solutions, and/or sand supplies that are closer to the end user (for
logistics savings). There appears to be an enormous opportunity for logistics companies who can provide creative solutions, particularly in the Permian
Basin and Eagle Ford. Conference attendees were treated to a great bus tour of the Mission Rail Park to see the scale of one such solution. And on
the first day of the conference we were honored to be the first to announce the largest frac sand shipment in history happened that day at the nearly
Alamo Junction Rail (Halliburton, U.S. Silica, BNSF, and Rail Logix collaborated to make it happen). Both rail parks are great examples of the types
of terminals needed to handle large unit trains.
Trucking & Last Mile Concerns
We had a great discussion about the shortage of sand haulers. With the downturn over the last two years, the shale plays lost a lot of truckers and they have not yet come back. To attract them back will require higher pay, demurrage, etc. This could be a huge stumbling block for a quick shale recovery in North America. Of course, that means a big opportunity for those who can provide a solution. One such example were the box-o-sand solutions, which might enable truckers to deliver sand over the course of days and store them on site (but that would require more space, substantial equipment changes for truckers, and other logistical solutions).
In all of this planning, everyone needs to factor in dust control issues.
Thank you to those who attended for making this conference a success!
As was mentioned, the 6th Annual Frac Sand Supply & Logistics Conference will be held September 28 & 29, 2017 at the brand new Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston. Sponsorship opportunities and registration are now open!
Because you do not want to wait a year to get back up to speed and to hear from industry leaders, please join us on February 27, 2017 for the 2nd Annual Frac Sand Industry Update. This event will be held at The Petroleum Club of Houston and will be strictly limited to 100 attendees and 10 sponsors, so don’t wait to sign up!
See you in Houston!