Vital Oil Patch water project celebrated

WILLISTON, N.D. – An expanded water treatment plant in Williston is making it possible for the entire region to grow.

Officials gathered in Williston on Wednesday to celebrate the expansion of the Williston Regional Treatment Plant, which treats water from the Missouri River that is piped to rapidly growing communities in the Oil Patch.

The Western Area Water Supply Project, a response to the needs of the booming population, provides high-quality drinking water to 70,000 people.

“Without water, there’s no growth,” said Jaret Wirtz, executive director of the Western Area Water Supply Authority. “Housing developments cannot be built. Businesses cannot open.”

The recently completed expansion of the treatment plant brings the capacity to 21 million gallons per day, allowing it to serve an additional estimated 20,000 people.

Gene Veeder, McKenzie County economic development director, said the water treated in Williston is playing a major role in housing developments in Watford City.

“This is without a doubt the most significant economic development project this area has ever seen, and likely will ever see,” Veeder said.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple participated in the celebration, noting that the state has committed about $290 million in funding for the Western Area Water Supply Project.

“Anything short of this project would not have been adequate to keep up with the growth and industry development we’ve seen,” Dalrymple said.

About 540 miles of pipelines have been installed for the project, with another 570 miles under construction and an additional 65 miles under final design.

The water project serves 11 cities in Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams counties. It’s projected to reach 160,000 water users by 2038.

Faces of the Boom: Williston café owner no longer nervous about slowdown

Lonnie Iverson, pictured Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at her business, Lonnie's Roadhouse in Williston, N.D., says her recently expanded cafe is still busy despite a decline in oil activity. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

Lonnie Iverson, pictured Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at her business, Lonnie’s Roadhouse in Williston, N.D., says her recently expanded cafe is still busy despite a decline in oil activity. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WILLISTON, N.D. – As oil activity slowed down a few months before her Williston café was set to open at an expanded location, Lonnie Iverson grew nervous.

“I actually bought a new house, too, and then the oil prices dropped,” the 34-year-old Williston native said. “It puts a little twist in everybody’s gut, I suppose.”

But Lonnie’s Roadhouse, which opened in March next to its former location, has stayed busy, despite layoffs of oil workers and fewer truckers parked at the gas station nearby.

“We just pack them in here,” Iverson said. “There are some people I know that have left, but for the most part, everybody’s still here.”

More women come to the café now that it’s no longer connected to a gas station near truckers who sleep in their trucks.

“I think they were scared to come into the other place,” said Iverson, adding that she likes the truckers because they keep an eye on things for her.

After the oil boom brought an influx of new people to Williston, Iverson had to stop keeping the café open 24 hours a day. Too many rowdy, drunk customers would come in after midnight, including a stripper who once assaulted one of her waitresses, she said.

“I wanted to stay open for the guys that actually needed a place to go and eat, but yet we couldn’t control it,” said Iverson, who bought the restaurant 10 years ago. “You shouldn’t have to have a bouncer at a café.”

After changing her hours, Iverson gave a key to the café to a group of local men who were used to coming into the restaurant early to be at work by 6 a.m.

“They’ll start the coffee,” she said.

Iverson was recently honored by Williston Economic Development as the woman-owned business entrepreneur of the year. Even with drop in drilling, Iverson said she still thinks there are good opportunities for entrepreneurs in Williston.

“I think anybody could start any little business they wanted right now,” Iverson said. “If you find something different, you can do it.”

 

N.D. oil production down slightly in April

WILLISTON, N.D. – North Dakota oil production decreased 1.8 percent in April to nearly 1.2 million barrels a day, preliminary figures released Friday show.

Natural gas production increased 1.4 percent in April to an average of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.

Director Lynn Helms said last month he anticipates the state’s oil production to remain between 1.1 million and 1.2 million barrels per day until oil prices recover. Helms was not available to make comments on April’s oil production Friday due to scheduling conflicts.

Natural gas flaring dropped from 19 percent to 18 percent in April, according to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

The number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota on Friday was at 76, the lowest since December 2009, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.

Most drilling is concentrated in the four core Bakken counties – McKenzie, Williams, Mountrail and Dunn. Three rigs were operating Friday in Divide County and one was active in Bowman County.

The percent of North Dakota crude transported by rail remained unchanged in April from the previous month at 54 percent, the Pipeline Authority said in its monthly report.

 

UPDATED: Hearing set for N.D. challenge to federal fracking rule

BISMARCK – North Dakota stands to lose $300 million a year in oil income and 1,900 jobs if a federal rule on hydraulic fracturing takes effect later this month, state officials argue in court documents.

North Dakota has filed a request for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management, seeking to delay implementation of the agency’s new fracking rule until the court can review a challenge filed by North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.

A hearing is set for June 23 in U.S. District Court in Casper, Wyo.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who will attend the hearing, said the BLM rule set to take effect June 24 would disrupt oil and gas development in the state and cause North Dakota to lose $300 million in mineral royalties and tax income in the next fiscal year.

In April, North Dakota intervened in a lawsuit against the BLM. Federal lands and minerals, including the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, make up about 40 percent of North Dakota’s oil production.

North Dakota officials favor state regulation of fracking and say the BLM rules would
cause lengthy permitting delays.

“We simply feel that our rules are better, they are effective and we are much better and much more capable of actually enforcing them than they are,” Stenehjem said in an interview Wednesday.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, writes in an exhibit filed in court that 10 of 22 oil companies with significant operations on federal and Indian lands will leave North Dakota if the rule takes effect.

Helms estimates those companies leaving would permanently cost the state $9.4 billion in royalties and taxes. In addition, Helms estimates North Dakota would lose 1,900 jobs.

Stenehjem and the attorney generals of Wyoming and Colorado wrote to the Department of Interior in May asking to extend the effective date of the new rule by at least nine months while court challenges are considered.

The department declined to extend the date, saying in a letter filed in court that implementation would not be a significant burden for the industry and would not discourage oil development on public or Indian lands.

Any responses to North Dakota’s request for a preliminary injunction are due June 19.

At the June 23 hearing, which is scheduled to take six hours, the court also will hear separate requests from Wyoming and Colorado.

The BLM is holding a workshop on June 22 in Bismarck with the North Dakota Petroleum Council to answer questions for industry leaders about the new fracking rule.

Storage tanks still a hurdle for pipeline project

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – What would be North Dakota’s largest oil pipeline project still needs approval for three oil storage facilities, including a Watford City location that was rejected by local officials this week.

The McKenzie County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 this week to deny a permit to Dakota Access Pipeline to locate an oil tank terminal across U.S. Highway 85 from Watford City’s extraterritorial area.

Lindsey Perusich, assistant McKenzie County planner, said the location – adjacent to an area populated with workforce housing – was the main reason some commissioners and members of the public objected to the facility.

The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would start at Stanley and carry 450,000 barrels of Bakken crude each day to Patoka, Ill. The 1,134-mile route is under review by the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

Dakota Access has received approval from local officials for tank terminals near Tioga, Epping and one at Johnson Corner in McKenzie County. The company still needs approval for facilities near Watford City, Stanley and Trenton.

Each terminal would have two or three storage tanks ranging in size from 100,000 to 200,000 barrels.

The Watford City proposal drew opposition from neighboring residents, but some withdrew their concerns after getting more information about the company’s plan for fire prevention and safety precautions.

Chuck Frey, vice president for Energy Transfer Partners, said the oil tanks would have internal floating roofs to minimize vapors inside the tank, as well as protection from lightning strikes. The facilities also would have fire-suppression foam on site and be constructed with dikes that could contain potential spills, Frey said.

McKenzie County officials supported the terminal at Johnson Corner, which is south of Watford City, because there already was a pipeline corridor in that area, Perusich said. But the Watford City location would not be in a similar pipeline corridor.

“There aren’t a lot of pipelines in that area, so all the surrounding landowners would end up having to sign easements for the pipelines to get to that spot,” Perusich said.

Dakota Access says it has nearly 60 percent of easements acquired in North Dakota. In McKenzie County, the company has 39 percent of easements, said Micah Rorie, who manages the project’s acquisitions for North Dakota.

Some planning commissioners cited concerns about the lack of voluntary participation by landowners.

Dakota Access could go before the full McKenzie County Commission and ask commissioners to overturn the Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial.

Denis Kesterson, planning and zoning administrator for Stanley, said the location just west of where they city plans to expand would be consistent with other nearby industrial developments. He said the project meets or exceeds all safety standards. A public hearing will be held in July.

The Williams County Commission will consider the proposed tank terminal near Trenton on July 7.

UPDATED: Company launches experiment to re-use oil drilling waste

BISMARCK – An oilfield service company says it can recycle Bakken drilling waste while protecting the environment, turning waste that would otherwise go to a landfill into material for roads or other uses.

Nuverra Environmental Solutions is one of three companies that will launch a pilot project approved by the North Dakota Department of Health to recycle solid drilling waste.

“We want to make sure that this program is good for the landowner, it’s good for the operator and good for the environment,” said CEO Mark Johnsrud, who announced the new initiative Monday from the state Capitol.

Every Bakken well produces an estimated 26 semi-truck loads of waste known as drill cuttings that need to be mixed with a stabilizing material such as fly ash and disposed of, the Department of Mineral Resources has said.

Nearly 2.5 million tons of oilfield waste went to special waste landfills in North Dakota last year, and that accounted for about 20 to 25 percent of the total drilling waste, said Scott Radig with the North Dakota Department of Health. A majority of drilling waste is buried in cuttings pits on drilling locations.

“If you go talk to a lot of farmers, they don’t want these pits on their land anymore,” Johnsrud said. “The possibility of having something bad happen is out there.”

Nuverra, which has invested more than three years and $30 million into this initiative, says its process called Terrafficient can recycle 100 percent of that waste, according to Johnsrud.

Companies in other states successfully recycle drilling waste, but the high salt content in Bakken drill cuttings has made it more challenging to develop a process that protects the environment.

“The biggest concern is really the salt that’s in the drilling waste and the potential for it to impact plants and groundwater,” said Radig, director of the Division of Waste Management.

The health department has approved Nuverra and two other companies to move forward with two-year projects to test the technology and develop regulations for recycling drilling waste. Three other proposals are still being reviewed, Radig said.

“Potentially, it could be a real benefit, both to counties that are looking for scarce materials to make roads, or as an alternative to piling up a bunch of waste in a landfill,” Radig said.

Nuverra is working with the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota to test to the technology before trying it in the field in the Watford City area.

Nuverra proposes to reuse the drilling waste in three ways: mix it with gravel so the gravel will compact better and not wash off the roads; reuse it as a road base material; and use it within municipal landfills as daily cover material, Radig said.

The testing will include using the recycled material to construct a road within Nuverra’s own landfill facility near Arnegard, Radig said. A gravel road in central McKenzie County that is still being selected will be used to test mixing the recycled material with gravel, Radig said.

Additional applications, including deicing roads and use as bedding for pipeline construction, are also being studied but won’t be part of the pilot project, said John Harju, EERC associate director of research.

The experiments are not without critics.

Wayde Schafer with the Dacotah chapter of the Sierra Club testified at the Legislature against recycling drill cuttings for road material, which he argued does not meet the definition of a beneficial use. He also raised concerns about how well it will be monitored and the potential for environmental impacts.

“High levels of salt in oilfield waste is toxic for our land which is already experiencing impacts from brine spills, releases and accidents,” Schafer said.

Dennis Fewless, who recently retired from the health department as director of Division of Water Quality, will return to the department part-time to oversee the project. Fewless will work with the companies to set up testing procedures and verify the treatment will have no environmental impacts.

“It is an important project and we wanted somebody to be able to dedicate some time to it,” Radig said.

Symmetry Oilfield Solutions of Colorado and Renewable Resources LLC of Killdeer also are approved by the health department to do test projects. Those companies do not plan to work with the EERC, but they will be required to work with a certified lab, Radig said.

“Each company kind of has their own unique ideas and ways that they think that they can work with this material beneficially,” Radig said.

State leaders, including Gov. Jack Dalrymple, joined Johnsrud in making the announcement at the Capitol on Monday. Legislators approved a bill last session, House Bill 1390, which paved the way for the pilot projects.

Tons of oilfield waste disposed of in North Dakota*

2014: 2.5 million

2013: 1.8 million

2012: 1.1 million

2011: 0.5 million

Source: North Dakota Department of Health

Figures represent oilfield waste, primarily drilling waste, disposed of in special waste landfills permitted by the North Dakota Department of Health. It does not include drilling waste buried on drilling locations, which is how a majority of the waste gets disposed of. Figures for 2015 are expected to be lower due to the drop in drilling.

Dakota Access Pipeline gains survey access across ND

WILLISTON, N.D. – Most North Dakota landowners who were sued for survey access by Dakota Access Pipeline reached agreements with the company and had their cases dismissed this week.

One landowner did take the matter to court, but a judge ruled in the company’s favor.

Energy Transfer Partners proposes to build the 1,134-mile pipeline from Stanley to Patoka, Ill. to transport 450,000 barrels of Bakken crude a day.

Dakota Access LLC filed civil lawsuits against several landowners in Williams, McKenzie, Mountrail, Dunn and Morton counties to gain survey access.

Although most landowners granted the survey access, being served a court summons prompted some to join a landowner group that is working with attorneys to negotiate with the company.

“They’d been sued and they wanted to join up with a larger group for more negotiating leverage,” said Montana attorney Matt Kelly, who is representing 64 landowners with Bismarck attorney Derrick Braaten.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioners told the company at a hearing two weeks ago they wanted to see more voluntary participation from landowners on the route.

Dakota Access has obtained easements for nearly 60 percent of the tracts along the North Dakota route, a spokeswoman said this week.

Mountrail County landowner Charles Ramberg, who continues to negotiate on an easement, said it’s hard to do business with a company that hands out a court summons.

“This Dakota Access, they just come up here and they said ‘If you don’t like what we’re doing, we’ll take you to court.’ Nobody likes to be treated like that,” Ramberg said.

McKenzie County rancher Rick Lawlar, who has several pipelines on his land, said it was the first time a company sued him for survey access.

“It’s disturbing,” Lawlar said.

Landowner Douglas Bopp of rural New Salem was the only landowner who did not settle with the company on survey access and appeared in Morton County District Court. The proposed pipeline would cut diagonally through his farmsite.

“He feels that there’s other routes that they could take to avoid his land, and he knows that there’s other people including the state of North Dakota that may welcome this pipeline,” said his attorney, Bryan Giese.

South Central Judicial District Judge Cynthia Feland granted the company’s petition for survey access. The company is required to give Bopp prior notice and be held responsible for any damage to crops, Giese said.

The Public Service Commission has two more public hearings on the project, one on June 15 in Killdeer and one on June 26 in Williston. More information is available at www.psc.nd.gov.

State regulators say well sites are ready for flooding

WILLISTON, N.D. – Oil companies with wells near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers are ready for flooding that’s projected to occur this weekend, state regulators said Friday.

Companies with wells in the most flood-prone areas have either shut down wells or secured the sites to prevent spills or incidents, Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter said.

“They’ve taken the necessary steps they need to,” she said.

The National Weather Service predicts that the Missouri River at Williston will hit flood stage of 22 feet on Saturday and peak at 22.5 feet on Monday, said hydrologist Allen Schlag.

While severe flooding is not expected, the water levels could get high enough to cut off access roads to wells and make some sites more vulnerable to accidents, Schlag said. Nearly 80 wells are in an area threatened by flooding.

Zavanna, the company responsible for an oil spill in March 2014 when an ice jam caused flooding in the area, has shut in four wells per an order from the state, as well as voluntarily shut in additional wells in the area.

“I feel confident that we’ve taken the necessary steps to protect that area,” said David Hodges, senior vice president of operations.

Other companies also have voluntarily shut in wells in the most flood-prone areas, Ritter said. Oil and Gas Division inspectors said water was starting to affect some roads in an area near Trenton that also flooded in 2011, she said.

In last year’s flood, a Zavanna well site had an oil tank that was not secured and spilled a reported 1,386 gallons into the rivers.

The company paid $3.5 million to clean up that spill, which contaminated more than 1 mile of shoreline of the Big Oxbow Wildlife Management Area. The North Dakota Industrial Commission levied $41,500 in fines and fees for the spill, and the North Dakota Department of Health may issue additional fines.

A settlement agreement requires Zavanna to shut down four wells between March 1 and May 30 of each year. The company has chosen to take the additional steps of shutting down about a dozen wells in that area from January through June each year and removing all oil and chemicals from the sites in anticipation of flooding, Hodges said.

“I don’t ever want to go through what occurred there a year ago,” Hodges said.

Zavanna was getting ready to bring some of the wells back online when advised of the potential for flooding, he said. The company will monitor the river levels to decide when to resume operations at those sites.

The company’s wells in that area are older, less productive wells from the Madison formation, Hodges said.

The well with the tank that spilled, called the Pvt. Frazier well, has not produced oil since the incident and the company is evaluating whether to plug it, Hodges said.

Some oil wells ordered shut in until flood threat subsides

A flooded oil well near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers has a workover rig and other equipment on it on Friday, March 14, 2014, near Williston, N.D. It is one of four wells ordered shut in this year until a flood threat subsides. Tanner Overland, Overland Aerial Photography

A flooded oil well near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers has a workover rig and other equipment on it on Friday, March 14, 2014, near Williston, N.D. It is one of four wells ordered shut in this year until a flood threat subsides. Tanner Overland, Overland Aerial Photography

WILLISTON, N.D. – The company responsible for an oil spill last spring into the flooded Yellowstone and Missouri rivers has been ordered to shut in four wells until a flood threat subsides.

The Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division is keeping a close watch on oil activity near the confluence of the two rivers, where potential flooding could affect nearly 80 wells, spokeswoman Alison Ritter said Wednesday.

Zavanna, the company responsible for a spill after an ice jam caused wells to flood in March 2014, is no longer allowed to produce oil from four wells in that area each spring as a result of a settlement with the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

The agreement says the company must remove all oil, saltwater and other chemicals from the well sites, secure empty tanks with freshwater and shut in four wells from March 1 through May 30 of each year.

Regulators have told the company to keep those four wells closed until flooding potential subsides, Ritter said. The company is voluntarily shutting in other wells in the area, she added.

The Missouri River at Williston is projected to hit flood stage of 22 feet this weekend, a level that in the past has caused problems for oil and gas wells in the floodplain, said Allen Schlag, hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

In addition, the upper Yellowstone River has received rainfall in the past two weeks that exceeds the normal amount by four to six times, adding to modest runoff from snowmelt, Schlag said.

Schlag said he does not expect the flooding to be comparable to what the area experienced due to ice jams in March 2014, but the water levels warrant taking precautions at well sites.

Inspectors with the Oil and Gas Division are telling companies with wells in that area to take steps such as securing equipment on site and ensuring they have adequate dikes around the sites, Ritter said.

But in 2014, regulators issued similar advisories and some companies did not heed the warnings in time.

A Zavanna crew had mechanical issues trying to access sites by boat and workers got stranded, hindering the company’s preparation efforts.

A tank containing a reported 33 barrels, or 1,386 gallons, of oil at one Zavanna well site that was not secured floated and leaked oil into the floodwaters, according to the North Dakota Department of Health. At another well site, a drum of methanol was discovered missing and leaked a reported 6 gallons into river waters, health department documents show.

The spill contaminated more than 1 mile of shoreline of the Big Oxbow Wildlife Management Area. Crews removed more than 30 tons of oil-soaked vegetation and debris after more than a month of cleanup, Kent Luttschwager of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said last year during a tour of the area.

Zavanna paid $3.5 million to clean up the spill, according to a document from the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The company removed and disposed of more than 3.5 million gallons of floodwater from the sites, the document shows.

The Industrial Commission issued a complaint against Zavanna for violations related to the flooded wells and proposed a penalty of $150,000.

A settlement reached with the company last month suspends 75 percent of the fine for two years and requires Zavanna to pay $37,500 in fines, plus $4,000 in administrative fees.

In addition, Zavanna was ordered to raise the dike on one flood-prone well to 7 feet and the other to 9 feet.

The settlement notes that Zavanna has shown commitment in following through with cleanup and implemented a contingency plan to prevent another incident. If the conditions are violated, the commission can impose the suspended $112,500 fine.

The North Dakota Department of Health issued a separate notice of violation to Zavanna for the incident. Health officials are working with the company and have not resolved the issue of a fine.

A phone message left with a Williston Zavanna employee was not returned Wednesday.

Regulators have not ordered any other companies to shut in wells, but some operators are doing so voluntarily, Ritter said.

“Everything is just precautionary to make sure that everybody’s taking care of what they need to in the event a flood does happen,” Ritter said.

The Missouri River at Williston is expected to hit 22.5 feet by early next week, the Weather Service said.

Although the Williston area received significant rainfall this week, it was not enough to affect the flood projections for the Missouri and Yellowstone, Schlag said.

McKenzie County breaks ground on new jail, law enforcement center

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, second from left, speaks Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Watford City, N.D., during a ceremony to celebrate construction of a McKenzie County Combined Law Enforcement Center. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, second from left, speaks Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Watford City, N.D., during a ceremony to celebrate construction of a McKenzie County Combined Law Enforcement Center. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – As dozens of law enforcement officers lined up here Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new jail, it was hard to believe that about six years ago the community had just four deputies and four police officers.

McKenzie County leaders are building a new facility to house growing law enforcement resources – which will soon include 25 deputies and 19 sworn police officers – that have expanded in the state’s busiest oil county.

The McKenzie County Combined Law Enforcement Center will include a 129-bed jail, saving the county money and staff time from transporting inmates as far as Fargo and Grand Forks due to lack of space.

The county in the heart of the Bakken has seen a rapid increase in crime in recent years along with the population growth.

“A lot of good people do come seeking opportunities, but also along with that comes opportunists, people who take advantage of our citizens, people who are here to deal drugs, to engage in human trafficking and other kinds of criminal activity,” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, one of the officials who attended the ceremony.

In addition to the sheriff’s office and police department, the new facility will house the North Dakota Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Northwest Narcotics Task Force and other agencies.

“Unifying law enforcement agencies together in one building shows the citizens of McKenzie County our commitment to ensuring a safe and secure county to raise your families in,” McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger said.

McKenzie County’s current jail has 12 beds, but the county typically has 45 to 65 inmates in custody, Schwartzenberger said. The county spent $2.2 million last year to transport and house prisoners in other counties, he said.

The lack of jail space means that misdemeanor offenders or other non-violent offenders sometimes have to postpone when they serve their sentence, said Northwest Judicial District Judge Robin Schmidt.

“Some people can’t get into jail,” Schmidt said. “I always tell them when they leave to make an appointment because it’s a popular place.”

County officials toured other facilities and studied the needs and determined that 129 beds would be a good number to start with, and the property will allow expansion of up to 200 beds if necessary, Schwartzenberger said.

County officials plan to finance the $57 million facility with a low-interest loan from the Bank of North Dakota and repay the loan with oil tax revenue. The North Dakota Industrial Commission is expected to vote on the proposal this month.

Excavation work has begun at the site, which is southeast of town at the corner of 12th Street and 11th Avenue Southeast. Construction on the 93,000-square-foot facility is anticipated to be complete in spring of 2017.

State legislators recently approved funding for 16 law enforcement-related jobs in Stenehjem’s office, including two Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents to be stationed permanently in McKenzie County.

Watford City Police Chief Art Walgren said the BCI agents will be a big help for more complicated cases that affect multiple jurisdictions. For example, the city has recently seen an increase in financial crimes and referred 20 cases of stolen credit card information to the BCI, Walgren said.

The Highway Patrol, which had one trooper in McKenzie County a decade ago, now has six stationed in the county, said Col. Michael Gerhart. The new facility will give troopers a home base in Watford City and prevent them from having to drive to Williston to pick up equipment.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said the new facility is more than a response to the needs in northwest North Dakota.

“It’s also a symbol of the community’s ongoing commitment to public safety and quality of life,”  Wrigley said.