Specialty Chem Facilities Increase Oilpatch Services

By The Bakken magazine staff | July 22, 2014

Two new companies from across the map are finding prime business opportunities in the Bakken shale play. Companies from the East Coast as well as Europe are opening facilities in Western North Dakota to provide quick and efficient resources for oilfield operators. 

Solvay, a Belgium-based chemical provider, opened a laboratory and production facility in Killdeer, N.D., that develops tailor-made, biobased formulations that help oilfield services operators manage and reduce water consumption, optimize stimulation operations and improve well yields.

“Most of our lab-to-well services are in Texas, but thanks to this new facility, we can now also seize growth opportunities with our oil and gas customers in North Dakota’s increasing shale gas activities,” said Chen Pu, Solvay Novecare executive vice president for oil and gas.

Solvay’s Global Business Unit Novecare is one of the first specialty chemical players to serve companies in the Williston Basin. Each of their formulas is designed to fulfill distinct needs, depending on the unique geological conditions of the shale for which the company is providing chemicals for.

“Our priority is to provide expert formulation and production services that quickly and accurately meet a specific application need, driving value for our customers,” said Jack Curr, director of Novecare unit Chemplex.

Along with Solvay, Praxair Inc., a company that produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings, is also catering to a demand in the Bakken.  

Praxair has facilities in Williston, Dickinson, and Minot and has opened its fourth gas fill plant in Bismarck, N.D., which will significantly increase the cylinder gases capacity in the Bakken play. The automatic facility has been designed to quickly and efficiently fill packaged gases from single cylinders and packs to liquid vessels and tube trailers.

“The biggest benefit is going to be the increased capacity and the ability to turn products around quickly,” said Robert Crew, the general manager of the U.S. central region of Praxair. “We’re at approximately double the capacity that we had before and that’s just on the filling side. We built a plant that was designed to be loaded and unloaded quickly.”

Praxair’s new plant offers a variety of industrial and specialty gases as well as ultra-high purity gases and blends.

“This facility, together with our branch locations, help us more effectively serve the growing needs of regional businesses,” said Crew.

The facility fills argon and argon carbon dioxide mixes that are used for welding applications. Those welding applications are out in the field for repair and maintenance on rigs, but they’re also used in construction products, pipelines, gas plant construction and for refineries.