Frac Sand

Frac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing by the oil and gas industry.

The amount of frac sand used in the United States is up over 300% since 2009.

“Frac sand” is a high-purity quartz sand with very durable and very round grains. It is a crush-resistant material produced for use by the petroleum industry. It is used in the hydraulic fracturing process (known as “fracking”) to produce petroleum fluids, such as oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from rock units that lack adequate pore space for these fluids to flow to a well. Most frac sand is a natural material made from high purity sandstone. An alternative product is ceramic beads made from sintered bauxite or small metal beads made from aluminum.

The demand for frac sand has exploded in the past several years as thousands of oil and natural gas wells are being stimulated using the hydraulic fracturing process. (See the production chart in the right column of this page.) A hydraulic fracturing job on one well can require a few thousand tons of sand. This surge of specialized drilling has created a billion dollar frac sand industry in a very short time. Between 2009 and 2012 the amount of frac sand used by the oil and gas industry has tripled.

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