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Associated Press, Published August 27 2012

Some western ND soils could produce 'frack sand' for oil industry

BISMARCK — A geologist says some of western North Dakota's soils have the potential to produce "frack sand" for the oil industry.

The term refers to special sand used in hydraulic fracturing. Sand, water and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure to break up shale rock and allow the oil to flow.

The sand is called "proppant." State geologist Ed Murphy says some soils in southwestern North Dakota have enough aluminum oxide to have potential use as proppant.

The Geological Survey recently published a map of the aluminum oxide deposits. Murphy says he's expecting the industry to follow up with its own studies.

Murphy says if oil producers could have a source of proppant in North Dakota, it would save time and shipping costs. Now, the proppant is imported.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.