Atlas Sand Co. LLC, formed by an expert onshore exploration team, has its sights set on becoming the Permian Basin fracture sand provider of choice as two plants in West Texas are readied for launch in 2018.

The Austin, TX-based operator expects to complete the first plant in Kermit by mid-2018, with a facility in Monahans scheduled to start up in the second half of the year. Combined, the two sites represent a combined total permitted nameplate capacity of 8.8 million tons/year.

The proppant sources are “logistically advantaged by their positions in Kermit and Monahans,” said Atlas Chairman Bud Brigham. He knows of which he speaks.

Brigham, a founding investor in Atlas, previously formed Brigham Exploration Co., a Permian-focused exploration and production (E&P) that he sold to Statoil ASA in 2011 for $4.7 billion. He then went on to found onshore-trained Brigham Resources, which completed its $2.55 billion sale to Diamondback Energy Inc. earlier this year.

“We have assembled a great team and a dominant position in the basin, with unparalleled size and scalability,” Brigham said. “Our reserves are optimally located to serve a significant share of the robust activity in West Texas. Furthermore, the open dunes offer higher mining yields, which we believe positions Atlas as the provider of choice in the Permian.

“This is the best opportunity I have seen in my career in the energy sector. I could not be more excited to be leading and growing Atlas into the dominant sand provider serving the Permian Basin."

Atlas, a pure-play West Texas operator, for now does not plan to own legacy assets in any other region. The company controls 6,000 acres, or 60%, of the Kermit sand dune and 8,500 acres (100%) of the Monahans dune, except for a state park. Additionally, Atlas holds about 23,500 acres of off-dune buried sand next to an open dune.

By year’s end 2018, Atlas expects the two West Texas sand facilities at full utilization to be producing 6 million tons/year. At least 12 million tons of total production potential exists in the Permian that could be added, possibly as early as the end of 2019, which would boost capacity to 24 million tons in 2020 or 2021.

"Atlas Sand has combined the mindset of an E&P operator with some of the best talent in the mining industry to design the highest efficiency plants with unrivaled dependability,” said COO Hunter Wallace. “We believe our ability to consistently and reliably provide timely product deliveries day in and day out will set us apart and prove extremely important as the basin shifts towards regionally sourced sand. 

“We also believe these same efficiency and dependability advantages provide a distinct benefit to our employees, and will make Atlas a more fulfilling and enjoyable place to work, which will be very important in this competitive hiring market."