West Texas adding fracking sand mines
Unimin Corp., a Connecticut mining company, plans carve out a sand processing plant in West Texas in a bid to supply drillers with local frack sand, it said Thursday.This should dramatically lower transportation cost of frack sand and it is another way producers will be better able to control costs for wells where fracking is used.
The sand plant, expected to come online early next year, will be the third major facility of its kind in the Permian Basin. Its rivals U.S. Silica and Hi-Crush Partners are also racing to construct sand production facilities in the region by early 2018.
That's because analysts expect half of next year's U.S. sand demand to come from West Texas, where U.S. oil companies seen sand costs rise because of limited local supplies.
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These new local sand mines should be cheaper than carrying sand on a train from fine-grain sand mines in Wisconsin, which can cost $40 to $60 a ton, or hauling it on a truck for 200 miles from other mines.