Ceramic Proppants Market - Global Industry Analysis, Market Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth and Forecast 2017 - 2025
Ceramic proppants are designed to maintain an induced hydraulic fracture open at the time of fracturing or following a fracturing treatment. The quality and performance of ceramic proppant is important to build fractures and to maintain the most favorable balance between contact and conductivity for the lifespan of oil wells.
Lightweight ceramic proppants that are economically viable as well are produced from close-controlled high quality calcined kaolin clay and are processed in modern ceramic proppant engineering plants. The resultant products thus provide permeability up to 50% more than what is typically provided by water fracturing methodologies.
The key function of traditional proppants is to assist in maintaining conducive fractures during well production. This requires proppants to meet close stress requirement and display resistance for diagenesis under downhole conditions. Proppants are available in various types, shapes, sizes, and applications to be used in the oil and gas industry. While most proppants are composed of ceramics or silica, advanced proppants such as ultra-weight proppants are desirable as they have reduced settling time and require low viscosity fluids for transporting oil and gas. Besides the basic function of proppants to maintain conductive hydraulic fractures, they are used as a crude way to detect hydraulic fracture geometry and to detect matrices for the slow release of downhole chemical additives.
Other than the conventional approach of pumping proppant downhole in frac fluids, a new way to generate in-situ spherical proppants has come to the fore recently. The carrying of proppants downhole involves the use of sophisticated fracturing fluids that have been designed and engineered to be used in the complete hydraulic fracturing process.
For oil well-stimulation in the oil and gas industry, the technique of hydraulic fracturing is frequently used. In this process, the rocks are fractured using liquid, which is hydraulically pressurized and creates cracks in rocks to assure the free flow of petroleum, brine, and natural gas. However, to maintain the fracture in rocks wide open, proppants are used. Proppants enable the cracks in rocks to remain open and thereby assuring the free flow of oil and gas from it. This helps in increasing the productivity of natural oil and gas wells.
Ceramic proppants, silica proppants, and resin coated sand are three types of proppants currently available. Since the process of oil and gas extraction is rated among the most risky undertakings, players operating in the market consider several factors such as stress on proppants, formation permeability and conductivity to maximize the efficiency of their operations. Ceramic proppants are preferred over other alternatives as they are small in size and possess strength and conductivity. With the thriving oil and gas industry, the demand in the global market for ceramic proppants is projected to expand at a robust rate during the forecast period of 2017 to 2025.
Although sand-based proppants are the most common form of proppants used in the oil and industry as they are readily available at low cost, ceramic proppants demonstrate significantly higher strength as compared to other proppants. The report observes that uniform round share of ceramic proppants offer higher strength than silica proppants and resin-coated proppants, which makes the ideally suitable for the hydraulic fracturing of deep oil and gas spectrum. This is the primary factor driving the demand in the global market for ceramic proppants. Additionally, ceramic proppants are also used to enhance the conductivity of middle and deep oil wells.
The manufacturing process of ceramic proppants is environment-friendly, as it uses raw materials such as bauxite. As the concerns to preserve the nature escalates across the globe and several governments across the world offering incentives for the use of eco-friendly processes, exploration companies are increasingly using ceramic proppants.
Geographically, the global market for ceramic proppants can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and rest of the world. Currently, North America serves the maximum demand for ceramic proppants due to the increased demand coming from oil exploration companies. Continued high prices and recovery in natural gas prices would prolong the oilfield activity and eventually will act as a primary driver for ceramic proppants. The region of Asia Pacific is expected to show sturdy growth due to the slow increment in the oil and gas drilling operations. The Middle East countries, who have vast mining infrastructure, are actively investing in drilling multi-stage oil wells and exploring new regions to well for. As a result, the demand for ceramic proppants in this region is projected for a robust growth rate.
Some of the key players operating in the ceramic proppants market are Badger Mining Corporation, Fores LLC, Carbo Ceramics, JSC Borovichi Refractories Plant, Momentive Speciality Chemicals Inc., and Imerys S.A.
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