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The Biggest Winner of the New U.S. Shale Boom

OilPrice.com Market Commentary: As Saudi Arabia cuts even more oil than promised, U.S. shale production is up by 176,000 barrels per day-but it's the frac sand industry that will feel the real revolution, and micro-cap sand producers who have flown under the radar until now are about to come up for some very lucrative air. Leaders in the industry include U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SLCA), Emerge Energy Services LP (NYSE: EMES), Hi-Crush Partners LP (NYSE: HCLP), EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE: EOG) and Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK).

But the U.S. shale rebound started even before the historical OPEC deal-so we're already running out of time to get in on the frac sand euphoria.

Last week, the Saudis said they had cut production to below 10 million barrels per day, which is a two-month low, and lower than the Kingdom had pledged to cut. At the same time, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) came out with news of a 176,000-barrel-per-day increase in U.S. production from the previous week-the biggest increase since May 2015.

The shale rebound started when no one expected the OPEC deal to become a reality, and now that it is and the market is starting to rebalance, things are about to go much further. The EIA sees U.S. production for December coming in at 320,000 barrels per day more for the year, with production reaching 9.22 million barrels per day as of the end of 2016.

And even this is probably conservative.

But it's not just about OPEC-it's about the 'Mega Frac'-the frac of all fracs that requires a ton of sand and is making it possible for U.S. shale operators to produce in any kind of market.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting highly pressurized water and sand into a well, widening the tiny fractures created by the water and sand blast so that more crude oozes from the shale rock. As U.S. producers create more fractures in rock to get ore oil and gas out, they need the 'Mega Frac', which requires mega sand to keep the fractures open.

Producers are now using more sand, or proppants, per well than anyone ever imagined, bringing the frac sand sub-sector to the forefront of oil and gas investing in a very urgent and dramatic way.

So the bottom-line situation is this: While frac sand companies are at the center of the U.S. shale rebound, unique micro-cap sand miners like Select Sands (SNS.V) (SLSDF) are poised for potentially astounding gains precisely because as early as mid last year, no one thought frac sand would be a winning bet and only a few months later, it's the biggest thing on the U.S. oil and gas scene.

Here are 3 reasons to keep a close eye on Select Sands (SNS.V) (SLSDF) and its substantial permitted quarry in Arkansas containing a desirable mix of Premium Tier 1 "Ottawa White" high purity 40/70 and 100 mesh silica.

#1 Most Explosive Oil & Gas Sub-Sector

Tudor Pickering predicts the amount of sand used per horizontal well will jump from 8 million pounds (4,000 tons) today to a staggering 11 million pounds (6,500 tons) already next year, and will continue to break records in the following years.

Credit Suisse predicts a 50 percent increase on 2015 demand and is eyeing 62.8 million tons of frac sand demand in 2018. In 2017, we could be looking at 49.4 million tons.

By 2018, according to Credit Suisse analysts, sand volumes used in fracking will surpass the boom levels of 2014, making frac sand the "fastest-growing sub-segment" in the oilfield services and equipment market.

It's been great for frac sand stocks, with U.S. Silica (NYSE: SLCA) jumping from $16 to $40 this year, but from an investment perspective, there aren't many plays to choose from here. And there's really only one micro-cap listed that is geographically positioned to benefit from this shale efficiency revolution: Select Sands Corp. Being a micro-cap, Select Sands is flying under the radar (at least for now) and has no analyst coverage.

#2 Preparing for 'Mega Demand'

Not only have frac sand stocks had a great few months, but the fundamentals behind that surge are clear and present. Smart...


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