Fluid for hydraulic fracturing, the process by which oil and natural gas is extracted from shale, requires three main ingredients: water, chemicals, and sand.
But companies can’t quite stroll down to the beach to borrow some sand. Fracking requires tons of it, and specific kinds.
For example, the “Ottawa white” sand, from U.S. Silica Holdings Inc.’s (NYSE: SLCA) mine in Ottawa, IL, is quality.
U.S. Silica said its “Ottawa white” sand is desired for fracking because it’s strong and has a uniform shape, said Anita Willis-Boyland, a spokeswoman for U.S. Silica at its headquarters in Frederick, Md.
So it’s good news for the Eagle Ford Shale that U.S. Silica is getting involved.
U.S. Silica is the second-largest producer of sand in the U.S., and it plans to pair up with BNSF Railway Co. in San Antonio to build a sand storage plant for Eagle Ford fracking companies.
The two companies will jointly develop a storage facility adequate for 15,000 tons of sand, with plant operations expected to commence in 2013.
Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 tons will be delivered monthly to the area in multiple shipments once operations begin, U..S. Silica said.
David Marquez, Bexar County executive director of economic development, told FuelFix that it could be located in the 500-acre Freeport Business Center.
Just last week, Maruchan Inc. showed interested in developing a ramen noodle factory close to that location. Here’s just one more example of fracking operations livening up small areas. As Marquez said:
“That part of Bexar has gone from a sleepy corner to the hottest property for industrial development that any of us have seen in a long time.”
The Eagle Ford Shale is one of the major shale plays in the U.S., located entirely in Texas.