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US hydraulic fracturing market oversupplied by 4.2 million horsepower by the year-end 2012

Industry Sector

Energy and Utilities

Published

21 January 2013

Author

Alex De Angelis

Type of News

Market

The US hydraulic fracturing market was oversupplied by 4.2 million horsepower by the year-end 2012, while global capacity reached 21.9 million.

Hydraulic fracturing is not a direct drilling activity; it is used once drilling is completed. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of using water, sand and chemical additives to create or restore fractures in a well in order to induce natural gas and oil production from new and already existing wells.

Experts continuously check the pressures, fluids and proppants (such as sand) and study the reaction of the sand when it reaches the bottom of the well bore, gradually escalating the concentration of sand to water as the fracturing process continues.

When this process is completed, the well bore is filled between each stage in order to maintain the highest water pressure feasible and get the maximum outcome from the rock.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has helped the US to unlock shale resources and other unconventional sources of oil and gas to increase domestic production.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates natural gas reserves in the US to be about 2,552 trillion cubic feet (tcf), which is estimated to be sufficient to meet the country's current natural gas demand for about 110 years. Out of the total natural gas reserves in the US, gas shales account for about 827tcf.

The gap between aggregate US hydraulic fracturing supply and demand will hit a trough in the first quarter of 2013. It has been estimated that US hydraulic fracturing capacity utilisation in the third quarter of 2012 averaged 79%, while it is expected to reach a low of 73% in the first quarter of 2013.

The gap between aggregate US hydraulic fracturing supply and demand will hit a trough in the first quarter of 2013. PacWest estimates that US hydraulic fracturing capacity utilization in the third quarter of 2012 averaged 79%, while it is expected to reach a low of 73% in the first quarter of 2013.

The market environment for new oil/gas development activity has changed considerably over the past six months, prompting a significant downward revision in US land rig count forecasts for 2012 and 2013.

Due to consistent rig count reductions expected through 2012, it has been forecast that hydraulic fracturing capacity utilisation will continue to fall throughout the year, ending at 74%.

For more information on the US hydraulic fracturing market, see the latest research: US Hydraulic Fracturing Market

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