WARD COUNTY -- A new sand plant opened in Monahans today and CBS7 visited the facility to understand what exactly these plants do.
Fracing sand is a big part of the oil and gas industry.
Refined grains used to draw oil out of wells can be worth more than a hundred dollars per ton.
Of course, it’s not as simple as raking up desert sand dunes.
“It’s a little different than what they’re used to as far as the oil and gas business goes,” Plant Manager Moe Connell said.
Plant supervisors gave me a tour to see how they turn dirt into something precious.
First, bulldozers collect the natural sand deposits.
Then it’s washed to get rid of any impurities between the grains.
After it dries, the sand is separated based on the size of the grains – the bigger the grain, the higher the value.
“It’s really a washing, separating and drying process we use to make the final product,” Connell said.
With that final product stored in silos, all that’s left to do it load up and ship out – a lot.
The plant is expected to produce between 80,000 to 100,000 tons of fracing sand every week.
Plant Manager Brian Vinson says he’s proud of the state-of-the-art facility, but now has his sights turned to partnering with locals to staff the plant.
“We’re working with local schools to try and hire local talent for future generations of miners,” Vinson said. “We’re set up for the long term. We’re not here to flip a company like some folks.”
Atlas Sand managers said they’re hiring in all departments.