World Industrial Silica Sand
World demand to rise 5.6% annually through 2018
Global demand for industrial silica sand is forecast to advance 5.6 percent per year to 289 million metric tons in 2018. Accelerations in construction spending and manufacturing output worldwide are expected to drive growth in important silica sand-consuming industries, including the glass, foundry, and building products sectors. Particularly rapid gains are projected for the hydraulic fracturing market as horizontal drilling for shale oil and gas resources expands, largely in North America. Nevertheless, faster gains in the overall market will be constrained by ongoing efforts to incorporate higher volumes of recycled glass cullet in the manufacture of glass containers. In addition, increased reclamation of foundry sand is expected to limit demand for industrial sand used in the production of metal casting molds.
China to remain leading silica sand consumer
China is expected to retain its position as the leading world market for industrial silica sand through 2018, accounting for over one-third of global demand. The country’s massive glass industry, the largest worldwide, will continue to bolster industrial sand consumption for the production of windows, electronic display screens, photovoltaic panels, and other flat glass products. China’s container glass industry will drive further silica sand sales, supported by rising production of glass bottles, particularly in the alcoholic beverage sector. In India, foundry activity will advance at a healthy pace, spurring the production of sand molds to manufacture automotive, machine tool, wind turbine, and other types of metal castings. Indonesia is also projected to register strong growth in industrial sand sales through 2018, supported by swift advances in the output of glass products and metal castings, combined with increased hydraulic fracturing activity.
Hydraulic fracturing to drive growth in North America
Demand for silica sand in North America is forecast to rise at a faster annual pace than all other regional markets. Consumption gains in the US and Canada will underpin regional growth, driven by expansion in the countries’ respective hydraulic fracturing segments. Ongoing strength in US oilfield activity will boost demand for sand proppants, as will increases in the number of fracturing stages per well. Consumption of silica sand in Western Europe is projected to register more modest annual gains through 2018, though such growth will mark a rebound from the declines registered between 2008 and 2013. Recoveries in building construction and manufacturing activity, including a turnaround in flat glass output, will stimulate renewed demand for industrial sand in the region.
Glass industry to drive growth worldwide
The glass market represents the leading outlet for industrial silica sand, accounting for 42 percent of world demand in 2013. Glass container manufacturing comprises just over one-third of the market; flat glass and other glass products such as fiberglass account for the remainder of global demand. Silica sand suppliers are expected to benefit from strong gains in construction spending and manufacturing output, which will boost the production of glass products used in buildings, motor vehicles, furniture, and appliances.