Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Estimates of hydraulic fracturing (Frac) sand production, consumption, and reserves in the United States

May 26, 2015

The practice of fracturing reservoir rock in the United States as a method to increase the flow of oil and gas from wells has a relatively long history and can be traced back to 1858 in Fredonia, New York, when a gas well situated in shale of the Marcellus Formation was successfully fractured using black powder as a blasting agent. Nearly all domestic hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as hydrofracking or fracking, is a process where fluids are injected under high pressure through perforations in the horizontal portion of a well casing in order to generate fractures in reservoir rock with low permeability (“tight”). Because the fractures are in contact with the well bore they can serve as pathways for the recovery of gas and oil. To prevent the fractures generated by the fracking process from closing or becoming obstructed with debris, material termed “proppant,” most commonly high-silica sand, is injected along with water-rich fluids to maintain or “prop” open the fractures. The first commercial application of fracking in the oil and gas industry took place in Oklahoma and Texas during the 1940s. In 1949, over 300 wells, mostly vertical, were fracked (ALL Consulting, LLC, 2012; McGee, 2012; Veil, 2012) and used silica sand as a proppant (Fracline, 2011). The resulting increase in well productivity demonstrated the significant potential that fracking might have for the oil and gas industry.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Estimates of hydraulic fracturing (Frac) sand production, consumption, and reserves in the United States
Authors Donald I. Bleiwas
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Rock Products
Index ID 70135042
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Minerals Information Center