Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid called fracking fluid. Fluids used in the process are foam-based, water-based, and gelled-oil-based products. Fracking fluids can be classified based on the type of well they are used in, into horizontal and vertical wells. Owing to the development of unconventional reserves, drilling technology has been changing from predominantly vertical to predominantly horizontal. Horizontal drilling is used to extract oil & gas resources by covering a large surface area and increasing the rate of production of gas. This trend, in turn, would increase the consumption of fracking fluids, as horizontal fracking requires greater amounts of the material. The rising demand for fuel and electricity is the driving force behind the fracking fluids market.
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The demand for fuel from the domestic and industrial fronts to cover the increased population across the globe would result in the growth of the fracking fluid market. Continuous efforts have been taken by all the nations to achieve energy independence and security. All countries are keen on shifting to natural gas and are calling for a wide-ranging shift from imported fuels to domestic natural gas. However, fracking has been facing a lot of opposition due to the environmental hazards caused by the process, which in turn is expected to hamper the growth of the market.
Also a large amount of water is required in the fracking process; hence, concerns regarding the use of fracking techniques are rising in regions with limited water supply. This problem is being addressed by capitalizing and using foam-based fluids, which utilize less water and are less harmful to the environment than water-based fluids in fracking. Extensive research and development is being carried out to find eco-friendly fracking fluids; this is expected to act as an opportunity for the growth of the fracking fluid market.
In 2014, North America has accounted for the largest share of fracking fluids, followed by Asia Pacific. Modern fracking techniques used to obtain oil and gas from abundant reserves are driving the fracking fluid market in North America. Other regions such as Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and Europe account for less than one-third of the total fracking fluid market. Asia Pacific is expected to contribute to the significant growth of the fracking fluid market due to increasing consumption of fuels in the region in domestic and industrial activities.
Also, new reserves of shale gas have been found in China, leading to increased consumption of fracking fluids. In order to meet increasing energy demand, oil & gas companies are working to develop these shale reserves of oil and gas for extraction through hydraulic fracturing. Efforts are being taken to find more economical and environmentally safer ways of extracting oil using fracking fluids and increase production rate of oils from wells.
Some of the key players in the fracking fluid market are Baker Hughes, Calfrac Well Services Ltd., Chevron Phillips Chemical, Halliburton, BASF, The Linde Group, Trican Well Services, Schlumberger Ltd., Akzo Nobel, Weatherford International, DuPont, FTS International, Solvay S.A, Dow Chemical Company, Albemarle Corporation, Clariant, and Ashland Inc.
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The fracking fluid market has witnessed backward integration of the fracking companies into the production of fracking fluids. Not only hydraulic fracturing companies but also chemicals companies have set up individual departments for the development of oilfield chemicals that operate to produce the fluids and chemicals with the desired properties.
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