An Austin company is betting on the continued strength of the oil and gas industry by setting up a pair of facilities that will mine and refine sand used during hydraulic fracturing operations spread around West Texas. Atlas Sand Company LLC, which was formed in April, has recently raised tens of millions of dollars and has begun construction of its two frac sand plants, company officials said. Read the company’s detailed announcement here. The company was founded by veteran energy executive and investor Bud Brigham, who sold off two exploration and production companies for a combined $7.3 billion in the past six years.

Brigham’s deep industry connections are helping the company ramp up discussions with potential drilling customers, said Hunter Wallace, Atlas Sand’s chief operating officer. Though he didn’t identify the names of those companies, he said Atlas Sand expects to have its first contracts to deliver sand in hand within five or six weeks. “Our biggest investors are well-known oil guys like Bud. Having the connections within that elite group makes my job a lot easier,” Wallace said in an interview.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, refers to injecting high-pressure liquids under- ground to extract oil or gas. Atlas Sand is closing in on completing a $245 million capital raise — a securities filing from October indicates at least $50 million already in the bank —

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