The oil and gas industry in the United States supports more than 1.7M jobs. This number is expected to rise to 2.0M by the end of 2020.
Wisconsin at “Global Epicenter” of Frac Sand Mining Industry
In Wisconsin, frac sand is the new gold. And by most accounts, the rush is only beginning.The type of ancient, coarse-grained sand that form the hills and river bluffs of west central Wisconsin is now highly prized by the oil and gas industry.
Used in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the sand is mixed with water and chemicals, then injected at high pressure into shale rock formations, forcing out formerly difficult-to-extract deposits of oil and natural gas.
Fracking is why the U.S. is now producing more of its own petroleum than ever before, moving from importing 60 percent of its oil in 2007 to just 33 percent today, including Canadian imports. And almost all the oil and gas being produced in this country is coming via fracking.
For that reason – and because Wisconsin has some of the best frac sand deposits in the world – the state is suddenly center stage on the world energy scene, despite having no fossil fuels of its own.
“Wisconsin is the global epicenter, and we’re just getting started,” said Richard Shearer, president and CEO of Superior Silica Sands, which is headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas, but has significant mining operations in this state.
Shearer was a featured speaker Wednesday at the 7th annual Wisconsin Freight Rail Day at Madison’s Concourse Hotel, where frac sand was the major topic of conversation. Rail is the least expensive way to move large quantities of sand from Wisconsin to drilling sites in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and beyond.
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