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Cimarron idles Grafton plant, citing slowdown in oil industry

GRAFTON, N.D.--An oilfield product manufacturer has idled its plant in Grafton, leaving just two full-time employees, a company official said Thursday.

GRAFTON, N.D.-An oilfield product manufacturer has idled its plant in Grafton, leaving just two full-time employees, a company official said Thursday.

Cimarron Energy, an Oklahoma-based manufacturer of oil and gas production equipment that purchased Diverse Energy Systems after the latter firm filed for bankruptcy last year, has a plant manager and administrative employee in town, said Richard Wilkie, Cimarron's chief financial officer. That's down from the 14 employees a company spokesman said they had there in early March.

Diverse had 75 workers in Grafton in 2012, according to a press release from Sen. John Hoeven's office at the time.

The diminished employment recently prompted the city to discontinue a property tax exemption that was first granted to Diverse when it built an addition to a facility in town, City Administrator Nick Ziegelmann said.

Cimarron idled the plant a couple of weeks ago because of a lack of business activity brought on by a slowdown in the state's oil industry, Wilkie said.

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"We're not closing the plant," he said. "We wouldn't start up for one or two tanks, but if we got something major we would."

Diverse Energy Systems, which built steel tanks and other products and once invested in temporary housing for workers at the height of the Bakken oil boom, filed for bankruptcy last September. Cimarron announced in February it had acquired "substantially all of the assets" of Diverse.

Jeff Wilson, a Cimarron spokesman, said in February the company intended to "maintain operations at Grafton consistent with the market and hope to see its operations expand in line with customer activity over time."

Cimarron still has a salesman who covers the Bakken region, Wilkie said.

"We're definitely not leaving the area," he said.

Related Topics: GRAFTON
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