By Rich Kreme – Wisconsin Public Radio – Friday, May 29, 2015
The U.S. Geological Survey has come out with new estimates suggesting that Wisconsin produced and shipped nearly half of all frac sand used in the nation last year.
Data on frac sand production is tough to come by. The state doesn’t track how much is shipped and companies are leery of sharing their numbers. But a detailed report from USGS is offering one of the most comprehensive looks into the industry. As expected, Wisconsin is king when it comes to frac sand, producing an estimated 24 million metric tons last year. That’s 44 percent of the entire U.S. supply. The nearest competitors were Illinois and Texas, which produced 8 million tons each.
The report also suggests drillers are using up to 5,000 tons of sand to frac a single oil well. That’s more than five times what was used in 2008. The report, though, doesn’t take into account a recent crash in oil prices that has caused demand for sand to drop between 20 and 30 percent.