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RockPile keeps it local: Fracking company comes to Dickinson

Press Photo by April Baumgarten Boyd Hofland, RockPile Energy Services operating manager, left, gives Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson a rundown of how the company's hydraulic fracturing equipment works Wednesday during RockPile's barbecue picnic at the Badlands Activities Center. The company plans to open its first facility in Dickinson in July.

A Denver-based company will open its first hydraulic fracturing facility in July, and its goal is to hire 100 residents from southwestern North Dakota by the end of the year.

"The local people here deserve the opportunity to work in the industry and be a participant in it as well," said Howard Rough, RockPile Energy Services vice president of business relations. "The other side of it is the local people understand the region. They care about it. This is their home and we want people to come and stay and be a part of the family."

RockPile will be on Villard Street west of Dickinson.

The facility will hold 10 million pounds of fracking sand, Rough said. Though the equipment was brought up from Houston, trailers were made by Boespflug Trailers in Dickinson.

The company has enough equipment for two crews, Rough said, adding a full fleet costs about $25 million.

The business was initiated by Triangle Petroleum Corp. of Denver to have its own fracking company to rely on, Rough said. He added the company wanted to hire reliable people to handle the business, but it wanted to make sure residents had an opportunity to be a part of the business before they looked out of state.

After being out of the state for about 21 years, Reeder local and RockPile operating manager Boyd Hofland said it is good to come home where his family is.

"It's such a golden opportunity," he said. "We have a lot to offer, a lot of job positions to be filled so it makes me feel very well that I can be a part of that."

RockPile hopes to give as many jobs as possible to residents of North Dakota.

While Mayor Dennis Johnson said it's great that the company is coming to Dickinson, it may have problems hiring employees.

"I think most companies coming in are trying to hire local and unfortunately we probably don't have enough local people to go around," he said.

Rough said the company will bring in more jobs and put money into the economy, but it wants to be more than a company that comes and runs a business.

"We actually want to be a participant," he said. "We hope to be in the rodeo this summer and have our equipment in there because the guys did that when they were younger."

RockPile wants to expand to five fleets in the Bakken Formation, Rough said, but doesn't want to move out of the area.

"That's where our home is, and we want to focus on this region," he said. "The Bakken has many years on it."