CN announced that it will start serving a new state-of-the art frac sand terminal north of Grande Prairie, Alta., starting in November 2013. The new 20-acre facility being built by Di-Corp of Edmonton will have an annual throughput capacity of 550,000 tons of frac sand and have three tracks capable of holding 44 rail cars for unloading.
Trevor Derksen, Vice-President, Marketing at Di-Corp, a distributor of specialty chemicals, parts and accessories serving mining and drilling industries in Canada and the United States, said: “We are very pleased to be working with CN on this project in northwestern Alberta to help accommodate existing and expected growth in frac sand demand in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Doug MacDonald, CN Vice-President, Industrial Products, said: “Di-Corp is an important customer of ours, and we expect to help the company move more frac sand to energy markets. The new transloading terminal will create additional offloading and storage capacity at destination and also give our origin frac sand producers in the U.S. Midwest, Manitoba and elsewhere greater supply chain efficiencies and new market opportunities.”
Frac sand is used by oil and gas industries in the hydraulic fracturing process to hold shale fractures open and let natural gas and oil flow out. CN is investing significantly in its frac sand franchise. CN announced last month it was accelerating work on the US$33 million-upgrading of a 74-mile rail line between Wisconsin Rapids and Blair, Wis., to increase car-loading capacity and train velocity for growing frac sand supply chains. In 2012, CN spent US$35 million to restore a 40-mile rail line between Ladysmith and Poskin, Wis., to serve the frac sand market.