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Frack Supply Industry Evolving, Expanding

By Staff | September 06, 2013

The frack sand industry is rapidly evolving, and for several production or distribution companies, this summer has also meant expansion. Unimin Corp., a frack sand supplier, has leased space at a New Town, N.D., transloading facility to supply frack sand to the Williston Basin. The facility, set for completion in January 2014, will offer a throughput capacity of 750,000 tons per year. Sand for the facility will arrive from Unimin's Tunnel City, Wis., plant by rail on Canadian Pacific’s network. Dakota Plains Holdings Inc., land owner of the Unimin facility, will provide transloading services. Unimin will directly market its sand products to oilfield service companies and will also fund the construction of four new ladder tracks and sand storage infrastructure, according to Unimin. The lease for the frack sand location will last 30 years.

Lou Mastandrea, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Unimin, said the location is ideally situated and will help the company respond to proppant requirements in the Bakken and surrounding areas.
Victory Nickel Inc., a mining and frack sand supplier with several operations in Canada, is also expanding in the area. The company recently announced it has received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator to develop a 400,000-ton-per-year frack sand processing facility southwest of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, known as the 7P facility.

“The AER approval has huge implications for Victory Silica Ltd.’s plan to begin marketing frack sand in 2013,” said Rene Galipeau, vice chairman and CEO of the company. “We will now begin the reclamation work and the upgrades at the 7P plant,” he added. “Producing frack sand from the 7P facility is the first step in VSL’s three-phased plan to establish Victory Nickel as a premier frack sand supplier to northern markets.”

Preferred Sands LLC, another major frack sand supplier present in the Williston Basin, is also looking to expand. The company has partnered with E Proppants, a Monterrey, Mexico-based proppant manufacturer. The collaboration is a strategic endeavor launched due to  the increased demand for Preferred Sands product line in the exploration and production sector, according to Michael O'Neil, company founder and CEO.