Changing Gears Across the World: New England Native Engineers ‘Best Gearbox Money Can Buy’

Jack Schorsch believes growing up on a farm in southwest North Dakota instilled a fearlessness in him about mechanical engineering.

Schorsch spent countless hours in his youth tinkering on machines and finding better ways to make them work.

“You have kind of an instinctive knowledge of how things are going to go right and go wrong,” he said. “I look at it as 10 years of experience in a whole variety of jobs.”

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Meridan Energy Submits Permit to Construct Refinery

BISMARCK – The company planning to build an oil refinery west of Belfield and just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s eastern edge has submitted its permit application to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Last Friday, Meridian Energy Group submitted its permit to construct the Davis Refinery as a minor synthetic source of air pollution, said Craig Thorstenson, an environmental engineer who handles permitting for the department’s Division of Air Quality.

The refinery is the first “of its complexity” in history to apply as a minor synthetic source, according to a statement by Meridian. Other refinery projects typically apply as a major source of air pollution.

Meridian’s plans call for the Davis Refinery to eventually refine 55,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil a day. Throughout the process, Meridian officials have said the Davis Refinery will be the most environmentally sustainable refinery ever built. Continue reading “Meridan Energy Submits Permit to Construct Refinery”

RockPile Gets Bought Out, Expands

One of Dickinson’s biggest oilfield employers has been bought out, but little is changing. It’s even expanding.

RockPile Energy Services, which operated primarily as a hydraulic fracturing operation during the Bakken oilfield’s boom years, was acquired earlier this month by Houston-based White Deer Energy. RockPile was previously a subsidiary of Triangle Petroleum Corp.

“It puts us in a debt-free situation, which in this time and day is exceptional compared to our peers, and most of them are in some really big debt,” said Howard Rough, RockPile’s vice president of sales and marketing.

RockPile stated in a release that when it was acquired by White Deer Energy, the move allowed it to acquire more capital to fund growth.

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Blue Hawk Square Variance Approved

Dickinson State University can start making plans to place students in the Blue Hawk Square off-campus housing complex after the city’s Board of Adjustment approved an off-site parking variance for it Monday morning.

The board granted the variance request made by Dacotah Bank, which took ownership of the building in June by claiming the deed from the DSU Foundation in lieu of foreclosure.

The variance will allow residents of the four-story, 108-occupant apartment complex on the corner of West Villard Street and 10th Avenue West to park their vehicles on DSU’s campus instead of in a parking lot across Villard that had been leased by the foundation since it opened. Obtaining the parking variance was a crucial step in Dacotah Bank obtaining a certificate of occupancy for Blue Hawk Square.

Board member Trevor Ernst requested the variance be granted for two years on a temporary basis after an hour of debate and comments from concerned neighborhood residents and property owners. The motion passed 3-2.

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Dickinson Airport Recommends United Airlines as Essential Air Service Provider

The Dickinson Airport Authority Commission wanted to keep United Airlines at the Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, and it will likely get its wish.

The commission voted Friday to recommend the U.S. Department of Transportation accept United’s bid for Essential Air Service.

A federally subsidized air service contract for $4.16 million would keep United at its “status quo for the service that’s being provided currently,” Braun said. That means the 12 weekly flights between Dickinson and Denver on 50-seat jet aircraft will continue.

Braun said he and Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker will sign a letter that’ll be sent to the DOT as the city’s official recommendation.

“We don’t perceive that we’d have any difficulty getting the DOT to follow our recommendation,” Braun said.

Part of the agreement, however, allows United to have a 90-day notice period to terminate the service. Braun said if the airline were to choose to do that, for any reason, the DOT would likely place a stay order on them until the Dickinson airport could go through the EAS process again.

However, Braun said United also has the opportunity to remove itself as an EAS provider should the airport see a dramatic rise in passenger load, which brought the airline here initially.

“It’d allow them to withdraw from the program if at some point in the future it was beneficial for them to do so,” Braun said.

Braun said he, Decker, Airport Authority Chairman Jon Frantsvog, vice chairman Bob Zent and Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel reviewed four bids that were submitted to the DOT. Great Lakes Aviation, ADI and ViaAir also submitted proposals.

Great Lakes Aviation flew into Dickinson for 21 years before ending service in March 2014 due to a pilot shortage, but also after United and Delta Air Lines began serving the airport.

ADI is short for Aerodynamics Inc. and flies from Denver to Pierre, S.D., and Watertown, S.D. ViaAir is a small twin-propeller jet service that flies mostly on the eastern side of the country.