News Oil & Gas

Frac-sand plant fire threatens supplies for Texas shale wells

A worker sprays down piles of sand at the Superior Silica Sands sand mine on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Kosse. Demand for sand is surging as oil and gas production in the Permian Basin is booming again. Not only is the need for more sand on the rise with the increase in oil and gas production in West Texas, but much more sand is being pumed into each well now withi the emerging thesis that more sand equals more oil extracted. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

A frac-sand plant in the Eagle Ford region of Texas erupted in flames over the weekend, imperiling supplies of a key component in shale drilling.

The blaze at Superior Silica Sands LLC’s sand-processing complex in San Antonio began around 2:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, according to reports from the city’s NBC and CBS television affiliates. A voicemail left at Superior’s Chandler, Arizona, headquarters outside of regular business hours wasn’t immediately returned. 

Sand is an essential part of the mix, along with water and chemicals, that frackers pump into shale wells to crack open the rock and release crude oil and natural gas. 

“Our hunch is that this may be pretty disruptive to Eagle Ford sand supplies (which were already very tight before this fire) through year-end,” Joseph Triepke, managing director at energy-research firm Lium LLC, wrote in a note to clients on Saturday.



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