Geologists Find Fracking Materials in North Dakota | VideoJennifer Joas | 9/3/2012
State geologists say they found clay that could be used for the proppants.
"It`ll put to use something that`s been out there for millions of years, but we haven`t had a use for. So we`re very very optimistic and excited about those prospects," said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.
Companies spend millions of dollars importing the proppant from foreign countries. This new discovery could change that.
"Typically in North Dakota one of the big problems we have is distance to market. And here the market would be in our own backyard," said state geologist Edward Murphy.
Typically oil companies need ingredients with aluminum oxide. Geologists found several clay deposits in southwest North Dakota that have 20 to 25 percent of aluminum oxide content.
"It seems like it might be on the low end, but companies may be able to get that to work to process ceramic proppant," Murphy said.
State leaders say they are excited about the prospects.
"To be able to invest that kind of money again into the North Dakota economy and create some jobs in far southwest North Dakota which hasn`t really seen the impact of the Bakken boom yet. It`ll be a real positive thing," Helms said.
Murphy estimates North Dakota has about 1.7 trillion tons of this clay. The state geological survey put out a map and Murphy is hoping companies take the information and start running pilot tests on the clay to see if it could in fact work under high pressure and 10,000 feet below ground.
The state geological survey collected 230 samples of clay in the state, and plan to release their final report in early this winter.