Non-metallic industrial minerals firm Unimin Corporation plans to construct a new sand processing plant in a west Texas location near the oil-rich Permian Basin that will produce up to 5 million tn/yr of regional sand for use in the oil and gas industry, the New Canaan, CT company announced Thursday.
“As the largest proppant supplier to the industry, we continuously strive to deliver increased value for our customers and this investment will allow them to source product closer to the wellhead,” said Andrew Eich, chief commercial officer of Unimin, in a statement. “Additionally, we see regional sands playing an important role in complementing our industry-leading proppant supply capabilities, further enhancing our ability to serve the Permian Basin.”
The Permian Basin has long been known for its ample deposits of oil. In late 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that it had found what it called the “largest estimate of continuous oil” in the agency’s history at Wolfcamp shale, a rock formation in the Midland Basin of the Permian Basin, Powder & Bulk Solids reported.
Unimin said the plant should be operational by early 2018.
“There aren’t any sand minds in the Permian Basin, so obviously, transportation costs will be much lower,” Michael Lawson, a spokesperson for U.S. Silica, another firm that is developing a $225 million sand plant in west Texas, told the Houston Chronicle.
The Connecticut firm operates 49 mining and mineral processing sites in North America.