Besler MVP 2019 API banquet

Monte Besler accepts the MVP Award at the 2019 API Banquet.

The board members of the Williston Basin Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute knew they couldn’t have their annual awards banquet in early November because of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases statewide.

“COVID’s taken a chunk of everyone’s life,” Ken Callahan, president of the Williston Basin API told the Williston Herald.

Callahan and others didn’t want to let it stop the awards celebration entirely.

1 Recognition is key

Callahan said the oil and gas industry, like many others, doesn’t do enough to recognize the accomplishments of its workers. Even in a year that has seen massive drops in the price of oil, plummeting demand in the wake of the pandemic and bankruptcies, there are positives, as well. That is what the banquet hopes to celebrate.

For the ninth annual banquet, the plan is to retain the same award categories. The five awards to be presented are: Industry Innovation, Community Service, Outstanding Achievement – Individual, Outstanding Achievement – Group, and Lifetime Achievement.

“We want to let people know we’re still here in North Dakota,” Callahan said.

2 Timing had to change

When it because clear a fall banquet wouldn’t work, API was faced with a choice.

“We had to either cancel it or postpone it,’ Callahan said.

The board decided to delay the event by about two months in the hope the pandemic will have eased locally.

The new date is Jan. 8, and the banquet is scheduled for The Well at Williston State College.

One reason API decided to postpone rather than cancel the banquet was the speaker who had agreed to give the keynote speech at the banquet. Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, will speak after the awards.

3Nominations and sponsorship opportunities open

API is currently accepting nominations for the awards, and anyone may submit a nomination form. The nominee need not be a member of the Williston API but must be operating in or contributing to the oil and gas industry in the Williston Basin. Submissions will be judged by the award committee.

There are also multiple sponsorship levels available, ranging from Gold to Copper. The sponsorships give businesses a chance to support the banquet while also reaching the audience. Nomination are due Nov. 30. Nomination forms and information about sponsorships can be found online at

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