Hi-Crush Partners LP said Wednesday it temporarily has shuttered dry sand plant operations at the Whitehall, WI, facility given “softness” in U.S. completions activity.

Whitehall’s wet sand plant remains operational, and Hi-Crush still is selling inventory from on-site storage to meet northern white customer demand for hydraulic fracture (frack) and completions activity.

Wet and dry plants also remain operational at the Wyeville, Augusta and Blair sand mines in Wisconsin, as well as the Kermit sand mine in Winkler County, TX, which serves Permian Basin producers.

“Our strategic decision to temporarily idle Whitehall’s dry plant was driven by recent, temporary softness in completions activity and frack sand demand,” said CFO Laura C. Fulton. “This reduced level of expected activity is reflected in our updated guidance for sales volumes of 2.8 to 3.0 million tons for the third quarter we previously communicated.”

The Kermit facility “continues to run above its nameplate capacity and we anticipate strong demand for northern white and our in-basin Permian sand in 2019 and beyond,” Fulton said.

CEO Robert E. Rasmus said the flexibility of the Houston-based company’s operations “position us to respond timely and efficiently to evolving industry dynamics, supporting our ability to best align operations with customer demand. Hi-Crush is committed to providing the supply surety that our customers require, while we work with all interested parties to minimize impacts and improve cost competitiveness through the optimization of our production operations.

“Despite temporary market dislocations, we continue to expect strong demand for northern white frack sand and are continuing with the expansion of rail capacity at Whitehall, as well as our customer-driven expansion of our Wyeville plant and the construction of the second Kermit facility.”

Evercore ISI analysts in August said fierce competition among sand suppliers, and a slowdown in Permian completions, likely would continue into 2019. The call for northern white 100-mesh sand in the Permian “has faded quickly and the frack sand market is now oversupplied, with increased competition likely to compress pricing into early 2019,” analysts said.

The near-term setback follows a move by Hi-Crush in July to advance the last-mile concept with a triple shot of expansions, including the takeover of a Manitoba-based, silo-based sand storage business and build out of proppant operations in Wisconsin and the Permian.

Some of the largest frack sand suppliers, including Hi-Crush, reported higher revenue for 2Q2018, and several said they were improving their last-mile logistics to ensure proppant would be delivered as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.