The increase in fracking activity in the United States is
driving increased domestic demand in the country for frac
Oilfield activity has seen more modest increases globally,
meaning that global demand for other oilfield minerals such as
barytes and bentonite has been less marked. But barytes prices
are ticking upward, with supplies from China restricted by the
East Asian country’s tighter environmental
regulations and light inventories.
Industrial Minerals assessed the price of barytes, unground
lump, API, bulk, SG 4.2, fob China, at $90-100 per tonne on
March 29, up from $80-90 per tonne on February 22 and the first
rise in the price in 2018. It has since fallen back slightly,
to $89-100 per tonne on April 26.
Revenues up despite delivery disruption
Halliburton, a key provider of fracking services, reported a
34% year-on-year increase in revenue for the first quarter of
2018 at $5.7 billion, with activity in the US shale sector
increasing the most.
Revenues in North America were up by 58% year-on-year in the
first quarter, benefiting from increased activity due to rising
oil prices, despite some logistics problems for the fracking
industry. Delays in rail activity after very cold weather
around the US states of Minnesota and Wisconsin affected sand
deliveries in the country.
The rail delays were exacerbated by flooding on the
Mississippi River, which delayed some barge shipments in the
The increase in revenues for Halliburton followed similar
results from other major oilfield service companies.
Schlumberger’s first-quarter revenues were up
by 14% from last year at $7.83 billion, while revenues in North
America were up by 52% from last year at $2.84 billion.
"Despite industry-wide sand rail delivery disruptions, we
successfully ensured sufficient sand supply, strong service
quality and overall business continuity across our customer
base," Schlumberger chairman and chief executive officer Paal
Meanwhile, General Electric-owned Baker Hughes’
first-quarter revenues rose by 1% in the first quarter to $5.4
Speaking to investors, Baker Hughes chief financial officer
Brian Worrel noted increased activity in the onshore fracking
sector despite the supply-chain challenges.
"In oilfield services, market conditions continue to
improve. In the first quarter [there was a] 5% sequential
increase in US land rigs [but] the US offshore market was down
by 21% quarter-on-quarter," he said. "Given the [oil] price
backdrop, we expect North America completion to start to pick
up in [the second] quarter."