Over the last few years, a little-known company named MS Industries has bought up as much as 2,500 acres of land in Alabama and drilled holes in it.
In total, they have drilled hundreds of exploratory bore holes in the northwestern portion of the state — according to some residents, the number is as high as 2,700 but the company’s CEO, Steve Smith, said they’ve done over 1,500 holes of drilling.
Their search got a boost in July 2013, when the governors of Mississippi and Alabama signed a Memorandum of Understanding that raised a few eyebrows. Govs. Bryant and Bentley agreed to study tar sands resources in their states, drawing on “best practices” developed in Canada to determine whether the mixture of heavy crude oil and sand could be extracted and refined.