American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 54

SpecialReport: Advancing Shale Science
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."
So within months of selling Brigham
Resources and its Delaware Basin leasehold in December 2016 for an aggregate
$2.43 billion, the consummate oilman
re-entered the Permian scene, but this
time eyeing vast reserves of another kind:
natural sand deposits. "The play made
perfect sense to us from both a geological
and an entrepreneurial perspective, which
gave us the confidence to move quickly,"
he states.
Atlas Sand now controls about nine
sections (60 percent) of the Kermit dune
to the north and 100 percent of the 14
sections over the Monahans dune to the
south, excluding a local state park. In ad-

dition to this approximately 14,500 acres,
Atlas holds another 23,500 acres of offdune buried sand in the region, the largest
sand reserves in the Permian.
The company is on track to open two
in-basin mines in 2018, bringing on an estimated 7.8 million tons annually of its
Atlas Pure Permian™ sand. The company
plans to increase capacity to at least 14
million tons by the end of 2019 and could
double that by 2020-21. Brigham says they
control an estimated 100 years' worth of
what Atlas terms "tier-one" sand reserves.
Hunter Wallace, former vice president
of operations for ATX Energy Partners
(the private equity-backed successor company to Brigham Resources), joined Atlas
as chief operating officer early on. "Seeing
Brigham's vision and knowing that he
was going to capitalize it the right way
and run it the right way made the potential
too much to pass up," he concludes.
Perfectly Sized For Fracturing
Over the first six months of the project,
Brigham says they learned that the deposit

Delaware &
Midland Basins
Central
Platform Basin
<100,000
100,000
8,000,000
15,000,000
22,000,000
>30,000,000
Atlas Sand Mines

With proppant consumption increasing dramatically across West Texas, Atlas Sand is
opening two new mines this year to provide an initial 7.8 million tons of tier-one "dune"
sand production annually, with plans in place to expand capacity to at least 14 million
tons a year by the end of 2019. As shown here, the mines are located near Kermit and
Monahans on the Central Platform, with ready access to high-proppant-intensity wells
in both the Midland and Delaware sub-basins.

54 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

is quite consistent both spatially and indepth in the open dunes. He attributes
that to the topography and prevailing
wind direction. The sand in the fairway
is sourced from the north and northwest.
An escarpment to the east slows wind
velocity, causing sand particles to fall
out that are perfectly sized for fracturing,
Brigham details.
"It is ironic, and quite a blessing, that
this has happened to occur right here in
the Permian Basin as local demand for
frac sand hits record highs," he notes.
Brigham says Atlas Sand's two sand
plants are optimally designed to serve
the basin. Both are built for Texas weather,
with built-in redundancies and backup
systems. Both are expected to initially
produce 3.9 million tons annually, and
have a combined 70,000 tons of silo
storage. Each silo has its own loading
lane for streamlined load-out. "We doubled down, because we know firsthand
the value of reliability and flexibility,"
says Brigham.
By controlling both of the large open
dunes to the north and south, Atlas is logistically advantaged to deliver tier-one
sand to wells in the southern and northern
parts of both the Midland and Delaware
basins. The mine sites are close to Interstate
20 as well as state highways 302, 115
and 18, putting them within 50-75 miles
of Permian well sites. "When we talk to
operators with scattered acreage positions
in both Midland and Delaware plays, we
can show them relative to their acreage
where our two sites are and how we can
reliably and cost-effectively serve them."
Access to both basins also is of high
value to pressure pumpers, who do not
know exactly where in the vast Permian
Basin their fleets may be a few months
into the future. "Having a good northern
access point and a good southern access
point makes us very attractive," Wallace
remarks.
"The fact that this sand is right next
door to the wellheads really de-risks the
supply chain for operators by a vast
margin," continues Wallace. In addition,
the simplified logistics of in-basin supplies
provides immediate cost savings. As Wallace points out, transporting sands from
sources over longer distances involves
more infrastructure, more logistics and
more cost per delivered ton. He predicts
that cheaper and more reliably delivered



American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 1
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