Frac Sand Industry in North America Booming, Thanks to Shale

New data released this week from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the United States will continue to be the world leader in frac sand production.

The massive increase in hydraulic fracturing in the United States over the past few years has caused the frac sand industry to take off.  According to the report, the North American frac sand market is a $2.2 billion industry and is projected to expand by up to 8.9 percent by the end of 2016. These huge numbers mean jobs for the American people and tax dollars for local governments.

Wisconsin is currently the top frac sand producer in the U.S. with 2014 production reaching 24 million metric tons. In just five years, Wisconsin has gone from 5 mines and 5 processing plants, to 63 mines and 45 processing facilities (not to mention another 27 railroad loading facilities!).  Needless to say, the economic benefits of the frac sand industry have been and will continue to be felt across Wisconsin.

The production of frac sand was originally limited to Texas and Wisconsin, but now it is produced across the country to meet the needs of oil producers.  According to the USGS report:

“The United States is the largest producer and consumer of frac sand in the world with nearly 70 percent of 2014 domestic production coming from the Great Lakes Region, primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

The USGS map below demonstrates the frac sand activity not only in the Great Lakes/Midwest region, but across the country.


USGS frack sand


The report also points out that frac sand isn’t the only industry to get a boost from U.S. shale production:

“In addition to the abrupt rise in frac sand mining and distribution, a new industry has emerged from the production of alternative proppants, such as coated sand and synthetic beads.”

This USGS report shows that there’s a lot to cheer about regarding the energy industry. Even in an environment of lower oil prices, areas of the industry such as frac sand production have proven to be resilient and successful, giving the United States a big economic boost.

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