The hydraulic fracturing process of extracting oil and natural gas—better known as “fracking”—requires that millions of pounds of sand be pumped down each shale well.
For years, Texas fracking operations have used Northern White Sand, mined in Wisconsin, for their wells.
But now, as Forbes reports, cheaper oil prices have producers looking for ways to cut costs, and many Texas fracking wells are looking for sand a bit closer to home.
In West Texas, dozens of new sand mines have recently opened. These mines don’t produce sand of as high a quality as the product from Wisconsin.
But the Texas sand doesn’t have to be transported as far, and it's easier to produce.
As a result, Wisconsin sand now only accounts for two-thirds of the sand used in U.S. fracking.