There are currently about 30,000 acres of guar crops in the U.S., according to Trostle.
Almost all of these acres are found in Texas, where the hot, dry climate accommodates the desert plant. The problem is, Texas isn't yielding near enough guar to meet the needs of the U.S. fracking industry.
Take Texas-based FTS (Frack Tech Services) International, for example. The company has reported using 1,700 tons of guar gum each month. The current acreage of U.S. guar would only keep them going for about 3 months. So, they buy Indian guar.
"Oilfield service companies would like to propel acreage far higher, well above 100,000 acres," according to Texas A&M's recent industry report. The major proponents include Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Schlumberger, who combined perform over 45 percent of U.S. fracking operations.
Even if U.S. guar does become commercially viable, it's not happening fast enough for frackers, who are moving on to "Plan B."
"With the guar shortage, there has been a renewed research and development focus on developing newer alternatives," said Jennifer Miskimins, professor of petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.
This September, Halliburton announced test results for 'PermStim' fluid, which it claims is a viable alternative to guar gum. The product has some competition. Schlumberger, for example, is developing 'HiWay' - which also promises to reduce reliance on guar gum.