The market for fracking chemicals is expected to register a CAGR of 6.02%, during the forecast period (2020-2025). Major factors driving the market studied are the surging demand for longer lateral lengths and stabilizing rate of drilled, but uncompleted (DUC), well inventory. However, environmental risks, such as a large amounts of fresh water usage and chemical spills at the surface, are hindering the fracking activity, thus hindering the growth of the market studied.
- The horizontal and directional wells account for the largest share in the fracking chemicals market, majorly due to the increasing number of horizontally drilled wells in the countries, such as the United States, Canada, China, and Russia.
- Alternative fracking technologies, such as waterless fracking, usage of green chemicals, propane gel, and other technologies, are expected to create substantial growth opportunities in the future.
- North America dominated the market across the world, with the largest consumption registered from the United States and Canada.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand from Horizontal and Directional Wells
- The combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has opened up new areas for oil and gas development across the world, with particular focus on natural gas reservoirs, such as shale and tight sands.
- Horizontal drilling has a lesser impact on the environment, compared to vertical drilling. Instead of drilling a dozen or more vertical wells, oil and gas companies are able to extract same volumes of oil and gas through a horizontal well.
- The horizontal and directional wells account for the largest share in the fracking fluids market, majorly due to the increasing number of horizontally drilled wells in the countries, such as the United States, Canada, China, and Russia.
- The United States shale boom has fueled the growth in the number of horizontal wells drilled. In 2017, the total number of horizontally drilled wells reached 126,653, representing an increase of 8.2% from the 2016 levels. Adding to this, horizontal and directional drilled wells accounted for around 94% of the United States' drilling activity, in 2018.
- In the case of Canada, vertical well drilling activity has declined since 2006, in favor of horizontal drilling, which helped in increasing the access to oil and natural gas in tighter rock formations. As of 2018, more than 50% of Western Canada's wells were drilled horizontally.
- Though North America accounts for the largest share of the horizontal and directional wells drilled for fracking, countries, such as Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and China, are gradually ramping up their fracking activities, to tap their unconventional reserves and increase domestic oil and gas production.
North America to Dominate the Market
- The North American region had traditionally dominated the demand for fracking chemicals, and is expected to be the leader in the coming years.
- Demand for fracking chemicals in the United States, the largest market, has been favored by the low breakeven price and technological advancement in hydraulic fracturing. The country has witnessed a shift from vertical to horizontal drilling, with longer lateral lengths and increased number of frac stages per well, coupled with increased fracking fluid consumption per foot. In 2017, the horizontal well count in the United States reached 126,653, representing an increase of around 8.2% over the previous year's horizontal well count. Continuing with this trend, the share of horizontally drilled wells in the country reached 87%, by the end of 2018.
- Western Canada accounts for about 95% of the nation's total production. In the coming years, till 2035, conventional production is expected to remain flat, rising to 1.33 million b/d, from 1.32 million b/d in 2017. Horizontal well drilling activity has been dominating since 2010, and it accounts for the vast majority of drilling activity in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). The liquid-rich Montney and Duvernay formation are expected to contribute to the major demand for fracking chemicals, as they are likely to contribute about half a million of the production, by 2026.
- As a result, the increasing focus on unconventional reserves to meet the surging demand for oil and gas is expected to drive the fracking market, and increase the demand for fracking chemicals.
A large number of oilfield service providers are present in the market, but not all of them provide fracking chemicals. Also, the fracking service market is dominated by few companies, such as Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, C&J Energy Services, and Calfrac. Moreover, there are a large number of small fracking service providers present in the market.
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