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NY N005440

May 21, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 6909.19.5095

Mr. David R. Hamill
Arent Fox LLP
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5339

RE: The tariff classification of artificial proppants from China, Russia and Venezuela.

Dear Mr. Hamill:

In your letter dated January 8, 2007, on behalf of Schlumberger Technology Corporation, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Samples were submitted and sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection laboratory for analysis. The laboratory has now completed its analysis.

The merchandise is identified as artificial proppants. In your letter you stated that the first artificial proppant consists of corundum produced from the heating of bauxite alone. You stated that the second artificial proppant is made by heating a mixture of minerals containing alumina and silica.

Both of the artificial proppants are used with fracturing fluid to hold fractures open after a hydraulic fracturing treatment of oil or gas wells. The artificial proppants are used in stimulating oil or gas wells to increase production. The proppants are mixed into a hydraulic fracturing fluid which is pumped into the well under high pressure to fracture the underground rock formation. The function of the proppant is to keep the fractures open after the fracturing fluid has been removed from the well. Proppant materials are carefully sorted for size, sphericity, and crush resistance to provide an efficient conduit (permeability) for production fluid from the reservoir wellbore.

The submitted samples consist of very fine spherical grains. Laboratory analysis has shown that both samples are composed of aluminum oxide and aluminum silicate with small amounts of other elements. The samples have the characteristics of ceramics and the hardness of each sample is less than 9 on the Mohs scale.

In your letter you suggested that these products should be classified as artificial corundum in heading 2818, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and as mixtures of two or more inorganic compounds in heading 3824, HTSUS. However, laboratory analysis indicates that the proppants have the characteristics of ceramics. Therefore, they are properly classifiable as ceramics in Chapter 69, HTSUS. Heading 2818 and heading 3824 are not applicable.

The applicable subheading for the artificial proppants will be 6909.19.5095, HTSUS, which provides for “Ceramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses: Other: Other, Other.” The rate of duty will be 4% ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheading 6909.19.5095, HTSUS, which are products of Russia and Venezuela, are currently entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations. The GSP, however, is subject to modification and periodic suspension, which may affect the status of your transaction at the time of entry for consumption or withdrawal from warehouse. To obtain current information on GSP, check our Web site at www.cbp.gov and search for the term "GSP".

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Sharon Chung at 646-733-3028.


Robert B. Swierupski

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