Permian Sand Demand – Article by Steve Toon

The giant Kermit Sand Dune in West Texas, northwest of Odessa, is an aeolian sand deposit dating back eons. It is the northernmost dune of a 200-mile-long sand deposit laid down by millennia of winds blowing sediment from the Pecos River to the west. The sandy terrain in the Texas desert had for years been used as a dune buggy park and recreational area. It wasn’t until 2016 that the dune and the trend of sand deposits southward became the epicenter of the Permian Basin’s oil and gas industry.

Even with the oil price downturn dampening local drilling activity that year, in 2016 operators were still increasing the amount of sand they were pumping downhole in completions, and by a lot. The demand for sand had jumped by a factor of three over recent years, and the price of Midwest supplies—the most common source of frack sand—was costly and took weeks or months to be delivered by rail. Some regional operators turned to regional Texas sands, such as from Brady or Kosse, Texas, to mitigate costs, but others considered those lesser in quality for completions.

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Steve Toon joined Hart Energy in 2007 as editor of A&D Watch newsletter and ADcenter.com. In 2012 he became senior editor of Oil and Gas Investor and plays a key role in the magazine’s direction. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and more than 25 years of publishing and writing experience. Editor-In-Chief, Oil and Gas Investor Hart Energy 1 (713) 260-6431 stoon@hartenergy.com