Guar, a little-known legume used in natural gas-oil extraction, is getting record-high prices.


Plantings are expected to triple this year to 50,000 acres, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.


But the main supplier is India where 8.6 million acres of the legume are grown.


Lat year, American farmers grew about 11,000 acre of guar that is used as a thickener in the drilling process.


Guar prices rose from 30 cents a pound in 2011 to a record 35 cents a pound in 2012.


In 2005, the price was 12.5 cents a pound.


Halliburton, the Houston-based well service firm, cited the rising cost of guar as a reason that it is seeking higher fees from energy producers.


Bloomberg News reported that guar can account for up to 30 percent of the cost of fracking or hydraulically fracturing a well.


The industry is seekinjg less-costly alternatives.


American farmers are less slikely to switch to guar because there are no federal insurance programs that would protect farmers from potential loss.


Guar is also used in shampoos, ice cream and lotions.