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.
A week after announcing it had a new ownership group, RockPile announced it had acquired American Well Service, a Kenmare workover rig company based.
The acquisition of AWS doubles RockPile's workover rig fleet to 12, giving it a presence in both the northern and southern regions of the Williston Basin. Despite the slowdown in drilling operations throughout the Bakken, workover rig work throughout the state has been relatively steady.
"It's been a steady opportunity for some growth in a down market," Rough said.
He said AWS will likely keep its name for some time and operate as part of RockPile.
RockPile CEO Curt Dacar called AWS an ideal fit for the company's plans.
"We believe this provides RockPile with a great platform to serve our clients across the Bakken and makes us as significant player in the North Dakota workover market," Dacar said in a news release.
While the financial details of the deals weren't disclosed, RockPile's won't change its name nor will its management structure under White Deer Energy, a private equity firm that focuses on oil and energy service companies and equipment manufacturing.
"We have observed RockPile's industry leading performance for some time and jumped at the opportunity to add the company to our portfolio," Jim Meneely, a partner in White Deer Energy, said in a release.
RockPile has around 400 employees nationwide with more than half of them in North Dakota, Rough said. Ninety percent of those employed in the state are based out of RockPile's Dickinson office.