No one embodies the full-circle success of the Permian Basin, nor the spirit of the American wildcatter, more than Ben M. “Bud” Brigham. From humble beginnings exploring conventional targets in the Permian Basin with 3-D seismic and $25,000 in initial investment capital, Brigham subsequently built world-class positions in unconventional plays–first in the Williston, and then the Permian–and closed separate billion-dollar transactions in both basins.

After reaching the pinnacle of success playing the role of the independent oilman, Brigham is now recasting himself as the “independent sandman,” helping the companies that not long ago were his peers satisfy their insatiable appetites for quality frac sands in Brigham’s familiar old stomping grounds in West Texas. According to IHS Markit, Delaware and Midland basin operators put away 50 billion pounds of proppant in 2017, quadrupling 2014’s total. By 2022, forecasts call for annual Permian proppant consumption to quadruple again to 120 billion pounds–enough sand to fill 2.5 million hopper trailers to the brim.

That is where Brigham and his newest company, Atlas Sand, come in. Born in the Permian, trained as an exploration geophysicist to always look for the next big thing, and conditioned as an independent operator to move decisively when opportunity presents itself, he says, he did not hesitate when childhood friends told him about the quality and availability of West Texas “dune sands.”

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