The growth in shale drilling around the world is tied to an increase in demand for hydraulic fracturing fluids, which are used to create or expand fractures as well as to carry proppant into fractures in coalbed formations.
According to a new report from Research and Markets, the global market for fracturing fluids is expected to be worth $19.88 billion by 2020, an increase from $13.33 billion in 2013, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% over the forecast period.
Mirroring the fracking market, North America leads the market for fracturing fluids. It is followed by the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Shale activity is picking up pace in many regions around the world and more and more wells are being drilled in countries, like the United States, where the industry is already well established. One notable trend within this growth is that the oil and gas industry is shifting from vertical drilling to horizontal drilling as more unconventional areas are explored.
Research and Markets noted that producers in recent years have increased generating horsepower to accommodate horizontal wells rather than vertical ones. At the same time they have refined the fluids used to conserve water and create better, longer lasting fractures in the target formation.
Most of the fracturing fluids that are injected into the formation are pumped back out of the well along with groundwater and methane gas, the research firm said.