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  September 7th, 2016 | Written by

Acquisition to Integrate Frac Supply Chain

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  • U.S. Silica acquires logistics provider Sandbox Enterprises.
  • Sandbox provides last-mile delivery system for frac sand.
  • Frac acquisition enables transportation and operating efficiencies.

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sandbox Enterprises LLC, a leading provider of innovative logistics solutions and technology for the transportation of proppant—sand or other similar material—used in hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry. The transaction is valued at $218.3 million and will be paid for with a combination of cash and shares.

”This transformative acquisition enables us to offer customers significantly improved transportation and operating efficiencies, a safer work environment and significant cost savings relative to current proppant delivery systems,” said Bryan Shinn, U.S. Silica president and chief executive officer. “Sandbox’s proprietary delivery solution is critical to addressing the growing logistical challenges our customers face as operators continue to increase the amount of proppant they use per well.”

Sandbox utilizes specially designed, patent-protected equipment and processes to service wellsite operations. In addition, the company provides field personnel for installation, training and operation as required.

The typical Sandbox system includes steel weatherproof Sandbox containers, which can hold up to 22.5 tons of sand and are gravity fed to reduce silica dust. They can be stacked nine high empty or two high full, offering a reduced footprint relative to competing products. Sandbox containers can also serve as mobile transloading facilities.

Systems also include specially designed truck chassis, which offer efficient delivery and represent a 60 percent lower investment than pneumatic equipment. Each chassis holds one full or two empty Sandbox containers, allowing efficient transportation of mass quantities of sand. The chassis replace pneumatic trailers, which require expensive power take-off units, blowers, and related equipment and cause congestion at the wellsite due to long unloading times.

Customized conveyor cradles, which deliver proppant directly into the blender hopper, are also included in the Sandbox system. Containers are lifted by forklift onto the conveyor cradle, which has a maximum throughput of 25,000 pounds per minute. The ability to continuously feed proppant to the conveyor enables maximum sand volumes to be pumped downhole.

”The acquisition of Sandbox aligns with our strategy of managing the entire supply chain of frac sand from the mine to the well site,” said Brad Casper, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of U.S. Silica. “Containerized delivery increases transportation efficiency and lowers delivered costs through faster truck turns and reduced jobsite congestion.”

U.S. Silica expects to achieve other potential synergies through direct loading of sand into containers from the company’s Oklahoma and Texas-based regional sand mines for truck distribution to the wells and the ability to transload from any rail spur in the country.