MAKOTI, N.D. (AP) -- The Canadian Pacific railroad and a company that supplies sand for hydraulic fracturing in western North Dakota's oil-producing region intend to build a new rail terminal to allow for deliveries of sand, company officials said.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" for short, is used to tap into oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale rock formation. The process involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to break up shale rock and allow the oil to flow.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and Smart Sand Inc., of Fairless Hills, Pa., announced Wednesday they will build a terminal near Makoti, about 40 miles southwest of Minot, to handle "unit trains" of sand. The companies hope to have the project completed early next year.
A unit train is a large number of train cars carrying a single product that goes from one point to another without taking on additional freight. Unit trains are also used to ship grain, coal and other commodities.
The planned Makoti terminal will be used to unload sand shipped from Smart Sand's sand mine in southwestern Wisconsin.
Both the mine and the proposed terminal are on the Canadian Pacific rail line. Each rail car can carry about 100 tons of sand, Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg said Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Smart Sand declined to answer questions about the transaction Thursday beyond a prepared statement.
"We believe the new North Dakota transload facility offers a unique combination of cost effectiveness, reliability and product flexibility," said Charles Young, Smart Sand's president, in the statement.