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  • May: North Dakota’s Offshore Drilling History & Other Interesting NewsMay 1, 2015

    USA #1 offshore well

    North Dakota’s “offshore” well becomes prime walleye hole

    North Dakota became an offshore drilling state in 1957 when Investors Oil Inc. began drilling the U.S.A. #1 near what is now Beaver Bay, making it the only marine and offshore drilling operation for thousands of miles.

    The well was spud in February 22, 1957, just four years after the Garrison Dam was completed. Although the Missouri River still hadn’t backfilled behind the dam to create Lake Sakakawea by that time, the river had begun to expand making navigation around the wellsite difficult.

    offshore aerialAccording to the William E. Shemorry Photograph Collection archives, “During the summertime, personnel of Investors Oil [would] take the company cabin cruiser, sail down Beaver Creek to the Missouri River, then navigate a devious channel between trees and other obstructions to the mound [where] they opened valves that [allowed] the oil to flow to a tank battery on higher ground.”

    The mound, which had become washed away by waves and wind, was reinforced with an enclosure made of piling, rock and cement in 1964.

    The USA #1 produced a total of 318,618 barrels from 1957 until 1974. The well wasplugged February 7, 1989. Today, the mound and remaining infrastructure on the location has become a habitat for walleyes, and the popular fishing spot is known simply as “The Oilwell.”

    Photos courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-28-51).


    Through its Neutral Footprint program, which plants a tree for every tree removed and conserves an acre for every acre altered during its operations, Enbridge has long had a strong program dedicated to environmental stewardship. Now, the company is taking its efforts to lessen the environmental impact along its pipeline construction routes to a new level.

    The company recently announced a new program called the Ecofootprint Grant Program.  Communities in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin along the route of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, along with the Line 3 replacement project, are eligible for grants to “help protect and restore the natural environment” on right-of-ways.

    This three-year program will award up to $1 million annually to affected communities and will be administered by the Minnesota Association of Resource Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils.

    For more information about the program and if your community is eligible, visit www.enbridge.com/ecofootprintgrant for details. The application period closes June 5.


    Watford City native promoted to President of Operations at MBI Energy Services

    The oil and gas industry supports more than 81,000 jobs, many of which are great long-term careers that offer upward mobility within the industry, especially for young people. For someyoung professionals already profiled by Energy of North Dakota, that meant starting a new business and watching it grow. For Watford City native, Jeff Kummer, opportunity meant joining a local company, MBI Energy Services, and helping it grow its legacy.

    Jeff was recently promoted to President of Operations for the company, which now employs 1,850 people in its 16 locations across three states. He first joined the company in 2011, the company employed just 200 people in two locations.

    “One of my hopes for the future is expanding on the business that Jim [Arthaud, CEO of MBI Energy Services] built,” Jeff told the McKenzie County Farmer. “It focuses on people, family, and is a big contributor to the community. From the small scale it was 35 years ago to what it is now – it just continues to have the same values and it continues to be a good place for people to work at and call home.”

    Click here to read the full story.


    Safety is a top priority for the oil and gas industry, and two companies recently hit major safety milestones as a result of their safety programs.

    Bilfinger Westcon, an industrial construction company, received the Commendation for Safety Award from the North Dakota Safety Council during the Council’s Safety & Health Awards Luncheon last month. Bilfinger Westcon was recognized for exceeding five million man hours without a lost time injury.

    “With that commitment that we have from our supervision, our workers can go to work in the morning. They go home in the afternoon. They stay safe. And when you’re talking about a safety record, that’s really what it’s all about,” Rikk Wampler, Corporate Safety Director for Bilfinger Westcon told KX News. “It’s about the people that you keep safe throughout the course of the day.”

    In 2014 alone, Bilfinger Westcon surpassed three million man hours without lost time injury. Bilfinger was also a contractor on the Dakota Prairie Refinery, which involved 2.5 million man-hours with no lost-time incidences. Dakota Prairie, the first refinery built in four decades, recently began producing diesel fuel.

    Watch to learn how another company is making sure workers are prepared in the field:


    Spread the word! The NDDOT is bringing “Ford Driving Skills for Life” to Dickinson on Saturday, June 20. This FREE one day traffic safety event for teen drivers is designed to be a fun educational event to teach them the importance of safe driving practices. Visitcodefortheroad.com/step-up for more information.

    Space is limited so click here to register now!

    (Events hosted by community partners – not all are NDPC or Energy of North Dakota official events)

    June 18-21:  Magic City Rib Fest, Minot

    June 18: 3rd Annual Bakken BBQ, Dickinson

    July 14:  Bakken Rocks CookFest, Alexander

    July 16:  Bakken Rocks CookFest, South Heart