Whiting Petroleum says it can get sufficient sand for fracking

NEW YORK, April 7 Mon Apr 7, 2014 3:12pm EDT

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NEW YORK, April 7 (Reuters) - Whiting Petroleum Corp is not concerned about access to large quantities of sand critical to the hydraulic fracturing process and the expansion of its operations in North Dakota and Colorado, Chief Executive Jim Volker said on Monday.

For each well, the U.S. energy industry uses more than 3 million pounds (1,400 metric tons) of sand, known within the industry as proppant, to mix with water and chemicals at high pressures and hold open cracks in rock so oil and natural gas can escape.

Concern had been voiced within the industry in recent weeks that key sand distribution points in Chicago and throughout the Midwest were running low.

Volker said Whiting has plenty of access to the fracking ingredient, and that he meets regularly with the chief executives of oilfield service providers Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes to review supply channels.

"I really don't expect any downturn in our frack sand supply," he said at the Independent Petroleum Association of America's OGIS conference in New York.

A few years ago, Whiting, based in Denver, had considered purchasing a sand mine to guarantee a steady stream of supply.

"Thank God we didn't do that," Volker said. "We just didn't need to."

Concerns about supply may be coming from much-smaller oil and natural gas producers who do not have the same purchasing power as Whiting, Volker said.

"They accuse me of hogging it all," he said, joking. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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