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Halliburton holds open house for new cement plant in Williston

Halliburton is a well-known brand in the oilfield industry for both its quality of service and its innovation, much of it tested and proved right here in the Bakken.

Wednesday, the industry giant gathered with some of its nearly 1,000 employees and community members to celebrate not only its 100th year as a company, but its new home in the old Baker Hughes facility, where it has built a much larger cement plant.

The new plant can manufacture 6,000 cubic feet per day of cement, or 180,000 cubic feet per month, of any of 35 different specialty blends that the company offers. Each of these blends has different properties, and is selected based on engineering criteria for individual wells.

In addition to greater volume, the new plant can also dual load from both sides, which is another point for better efficiency.

“The old plant had a bottleneck from a capacity standpoint,” said Thomas Johnson, Vice President of the Rockies. “And we were having to do certain things in the lab that we can now do physically in the bulk plant.”

The fate of the old plant has not been decided, but there are no plans to continue using it as a cement plant, Johnson added.

“There is more than enough capacity at the new plant to cover all the customer needs in North Dakota,” he said.

Cement has been a speciality of Halliburton’s since its humble Texas beginnings in 1919 by Erle Palmer Halliburton.

Halliburton had been an engineer with Perkins Cementing in California as a consulting engineer for drilling and well cementing. He was charged with developing new ideas, however they met with a fair amount of resistance.

He called his new company the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company. It’s inventory at the time included a borrowed pump, a wagon, a mule team and a wooden mixing box. His wife’s wedding ring, meanwhile, was the startup funding.

His revolutionary ideas were better, but didn’t really take off until he tamed a wild well in Oklahoma for the Skelly Oil Company. It was 1924, and the company’s name became Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company, or HOWCO.

Halliburton continued to pursue innovative approaches to the production of oil and gas throughout his career. He retired in 1947 due to poor health, but the company continued, becoming Halliburton Services in 1962.

Halliburton has been in North Dakota markets for about half of its 100 years, according to Robert Harber, business development vice president for North America.

While Halliburton was present in the community in the 80s, it really began expanding its presence and investing more heavily in the Bakken during the latest oil boom.

“At that time, Halliburton really started to invest in the area from the standpoint of expanding facilities, crews, and product lines,” Harber said. “And that was through a lot of innovation and technology that we were able to bring to the industry, along with partnerships with our clients and vendors to supply this market.”

Not only did Halliburton invest in Williston, however, the community has made its share of investment as well, Harber added.

“It’s in a good place to have that infrastructure to support the workforce that our industry needs to have for a sustainable marketplace,” Harber said. “And some of that was the result of expanding facilities and investments made early on. It’s a great day here for Halliburton. We are renewing that investment, and it puts a better roof over the heads of our employees.”

Harber said the Bakken has done much of the front-end work that is making other shale plays go.

“Horizontal drilling didn’t start here,” Harber said. “But horizontal drilling into shale, this is one of the first places that that was executed. And what really changed it was being able to take the approach of encasing the well and completing certain parts of the well to make it more effective.”

That technological know-how has proved portable to many other shale plays, such as the Permian.

Completion technology is continuing to evolve and improve, Harber added, and he believes that the Bakken will continue to be at the center of these efforts for a long time to come.

“Our customers continue to see results that are encouraging enough, such that the cash flow potential continues to improve over time,” Harber said. “And it can continue to advance. (The Bakken) is not on a decline, it is on an incline.”

From Montana to North Dakota, support rolls in for seed-cleaning facility at WREC

New pledges for a seed cleaning facility at Williston Research Extension Center tallied up quickly late Wednesday afternoon. More than $250,000 from various entities was pledged for a plant expected to take the region’s Foundation Seed Program to new heights.

Richland County Commissioner Duane Mitchell was first up at the mic, with a $50,000 check from Richland County in Montana.

Mitchell said there had been some questions about the donation for a seed cleaning facility that is located in North Dakota, but said the facility is important to the entire region.

“I’d like to challenge everyone to help make this thing happen,” he said.

Tom Wheeler, a grower who has been active in efforts to get legislative funding for the new seed cleaning facility, noted that one-quarter to one-third of the seed produced by the Foundation Seed Program at WREC is sold into Montana. Wheeler is also chairman of the joint advisory committee for WREC and the Eastern Agricultural Research Center.

Ken Callahan, president of the Williston Basin Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute also had a challenge, this one to the oil and gas industry.

He presented a $5,000 check from API, and said the organization will be asking all its member oil and gas companies to match the donation.

Mountrail Williams Electric Coop had a $50,000 check, which was presented by Chris Brostuen.

While it took some thought to settle on a dollar amount, Brostuen said a donation was a “no-brainer.”

“In the coop’s history, farmers have always played a big part,” he said. “They drove the development of the coop back in the 40s and 50s.”

Even today, with all the oil and gas, farmers continue to be critical to the coop and to the region’s economy, Brostuen added.

Daniel Stenberg, executive director of the McKenzie County Job Development Authority, did not have a check just yet, but said they had a presentation on the facility Tuesday night, and will be asking County Commissioners to send a $100,000 check.

Williams County Commissioners indicated they, too, will be making a donation, though they have not yet discussed how much to give.

“Williams County is 100 percent committed to making sure this project takes off,” Commissioner Beau Anderson said.

Anderson has worked at the facility in the past.

“This is a little chunk of my heart,” he said. “This is a beautiful wheat crop, and it’s a beautiful evening to be kicking off a project that is going to be here a long time. I hope more than 60 years.”

Commissioner Cory Hanson added that it will be a great facility, and that it is exciting to see all the community members coming together on it.

Chad Anderson, with the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association, noting the close working relationship with the university system, presented a check for $25,000.

Mayor Howard Klug also spoke during the ceremony. Williston was an early contributor, pledging $250,000 through its STAR Fund earlier in the year for the seed facility.

“It is just us and us,” Klug said. “That is where it is.”

Klug explained that the sales tax supporting the STAR Fund is collected from everyone, whether in the oil industry or farming sector of the economy.

“It doesn’t take us long to figure out a project like this,” Klug said.

He said the facility has probably received the largest grant from the STAR fund program. That’s because the facility will help the whole region. Part of what Williston has been working toward is developing itself as a regional resource.

“Whatever we can do to make the region work, whether it is with your group, or working with the oil companies, we will work with anyone,” Klug said.

20-year-old Williston man accused of breaking into truck, running from police

A 20-year-old man is facing multiple charges after police say he broke into a pickup truck early Tuesday morning and ran from officers after being confronted.

Jonathan Perez was charged Wednesday, July 10, with theft and breaking into a vehicle, both class C felonies, as well as class A misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and class B misdemeanor counts of fleeing a police officer and underage drinking. He was ordered held Wednesday on $10,000 bond.

Police were called to the 3300 block of 28th Street West around 3:36 a.m. on Tuesday after someone reported seeing a man with a flashlight getting into vehicles, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. When an officer arrived, he spotted Perez leaning into a Ford F-350 pickup and holding a plastic bag filled with items.

When the officer told Perez to show his hands, Perez raised his hands and began to walk away while still holding his hands up, court records indicate. When the officer told Perez to stop, Perez fled.

Eventually, another officer saw Perez standing in the entryway of an office building in the 3200 block of 27th Street West, charging documents state. When the officer told Perez to come out, Perez ran toward the building’s elevator.

After a search of the building, the officer found Perez hiding in a stall in the women’s bathroom, investigators wrote in the probable cause affidavit. A breath test showed Perez’s blood alcohol content at .105.

Officers found a bag that Perez dropped while running from police and found it contained an Apple iPad, an iPhone, a radar detector, a watch and cologne, all of which belonged to the owner of the truck, court documents state. The total value of the items wa about $1,261.

After Perez was taken to the Williams County jail, correctional officers found a vape pen in his pocket with liquid that contained THC, according to charging documents.

Perez is due back in court Aug. 7 for a preliminary hearing.

Williston Downtowners plan three days of events for Williston

Downtown Williston is the place to be this week with three full days of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

The second Summer Nights on Main of the season happens on Thursday, July 11, with popular band Slamabama returning to the stage, sponsored by Red Rock Ford in Williston. The street will be filled with food vendors, offering up tacos, snow cones, hot dogs and more. Laser tag and inflatables will set-up for the younger crowd to enjoy, with a beer gardens available to those 21 and older. Summer Nights is every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. throughout July and August.

On Friday, the Downtown businesses will turn Main Street into a smorgasbord of shopping for the annual Crazy Days sales, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many businesses will be featuring sales, giveaways and more as part of the annual event. The day kicks off from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. with the 66 cent breakfast, sponsored by KEYZ Radio and the Korner Lions Club. Along with doing a bit a shopping, food vendors will be set up along Main Street as well, so visitors can grab a bite while they grab some deals. Crazy Days will feature fun for the kids as well, with inflatables and train rides offered by members of the Williston High School boys basketball team.

On Saturday, July 13, The Main Street Market returns for the season from 9 a.m. to noon in the Hedderich’s lot. Vendors from around the area will be on site, selling produce and more. The market has been growing steadily each year, featuring vendors selling foods and crafts, with activities for the whole family to take part in. The market will run every Saturday throughout the summer.

“We love seeing the community come Downtown,” Downtowners Executive Director Daved Lundeen told the Williston Herald. “It’s really special to see how involved the community gets in our events to bring as many people as we do downtown. We think it’s really beneficial for Williston in general, and especially for downtown and our downtown businesses. We like to do anything we can support them, so the more people we can bring downtown, the happier we are.”

Watford City PD announces results of tobacco compliance checks

The Watford City Police Department recently completed a compliance check of businesses that sell tobacco and found 14 of 16 businesses refused to sell to minors.

The check was the first by the department, according to a news release put out Wednesday, July 10. The checks were done in partnership with Upper Missouri Health District, North Dakota Department of Health and McKenzie County School District.

Only two businesses, Long X Bottle Shop and Kum and Go gas station, sold tobacco or nicotine products to minors, police said. These businesses were warned instead of being cited, and trained on North Dakota tobacco laws.

The department plans to continue the compliance checks in the future, using grant funding from the Upper Missouri Health District and North Dakota Department of Health.

WCPD would like thank the following businesses for checking the IDs of our minors and refusing to sell tobacco or nicotine products.

- American Legion Bar

- Holiday Gas Station

- Cash Wise Foods

- Cash Wise Liquor

- Corner Post Gas Station

- Family Dollar (Main Street)

- Family Dollar (4th Ave Ne)

- Cenex

- One Stop Gas Station

- Jack and Jill’s Grocery Store

- Tobacco Depot

- Fox Hills Golf Course

- City Bar

- Twist Convenience Store