Horsepower, Sand Supply Limits Suggest Tight Frac Market

Additional horsepower capacity will come online later this year, but it may not be enough to bridge the gap to projected demand in the frac market.

Frac sand continues to be an issue and is expected to be problematic into 2023. (Source: Hart Energy)

The hydraulic fracturing market through 2023 is expected to be tight. Horsepower and water demand are both projected to rise next year, and sand will likely continue to be an issue, according to Luke Smith, U.S. onshore analyst at Westwood Global Energy Group.

By third-quarter 2023, Smith expects horsepower demand to exceed 14 MMhp. In first-quarter 2022, the active horsepower was 12 million.

“That essentially indicates the market will be very tight. They will need newbuild additions or to reactivate Tier 2 crews,” he said.

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Jennifer Pallanich

Jennifer Pallanich is Hart Energy's senior editor for technology. She has reported on the technology that fuels oil patch exploration, development and production for more than two decades.