Frac sand boom hits the Basin

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PERMIAN BASIN -- Frac sand mining is the latest boom to hit the Permian Basin and it’s an operation that started about six months ago.

“Creates a tremendous number of new jobs, high paying jobs, the plants are longterm,” Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth said.

Right now, there are nine frac sand facilities spread across the Basin. Six of them are in Winkler County, two are in Crane County and the other one is located right across from the Sandhills State Park in Ward County.

The process starts with a certain type of sand that works best for fracking.

“Take that sand and mix with some chemicals and they pump it down to high pressure and break the formation up, which eventually releases oil and gas,” Mayor Cutbirth said.

While the economic capabilities seem endless, the project doesn’t come without its share of obstacles.

“Where do you put all the people? Where do you park all the trucks and how do you get enough CDL drivers?” Mayor Cutbirth said.

With time, solutions will come but it’s a business that’s on the rise and it’s not coming down anytime soon.

Within the next six months, about five more frac sand mining facilities will set up shop and they’ll most likely be located in Winkler County.