MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) – Sand prices are rising as its demand increases in light of the increased use of sand in oil and gas extraction, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Fracking companies are expected to use nearly 95 billion pounds of sand in 2014, which is up almost 30 percent from 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported. The reason for the increasing demand is that the output of wells can be pushed up to 30 percent higher when fracking with more sand.
In recent years billions of pounds of sand have been used in so-called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In fracking, sand is mixed with water and chemicals, and then pumped down a hole to crack dense rocks to release oil and gas trapped in them.
As a result of the rising demand for sand, its suppliers are expected to raise their prices. Some of them already have done so.
It should be noted that it is not only high-quality sand, found in Wisconsin and Minnesota, that is becoming more expensive, but the lower-quality variants, found in Texas and Arkansas, is becoming pricier, too.
However, the expansion of the sand industry may be hampered by a public backlash over trucking traffic, dust and breathing problems, often associated with operating sand mines. Health concerns are the ones that may be getting in the way of the otherwise booming sector.
Fracking is gaining popularity outside the United States as well, with Denmark considering using the technology to extract shale gas. The majority of Danes approved of the initiative, though environmentalists expressed their concerns over ground water contamination, air and noise pollution.