UND’s Collaborative Energy Complex Receives $5 Million from Hess

By Emily Aasand | September 17, 2014

Hess Corp. announced a $5 million gift to the University of North Dakota’s College of Engineering & Mines.  With an additional $2.5 million match from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund, the total impact of the Hess gift will equal $7.5 million to help fund UND’s Collaborative Energy Complex.

“This grant will help grow an already strong and innovative program that will continue to train the workforce to meet the demands of the growing diverse energy sector in this state,” said Steve McNally, general manager of Hess Corp. in North Dakota.  “We think that education is the backbone of North Dakota’s future and we all win when that backbone is strengthened by collaboration of the public and private sector.”

The $5 million gift will be used to advance UND’s Petroleum Engineering program and to create several important features in the new building including a Hess Innovation Lab, Hess 3-D Visualization and Reservoir Simulation Lab, Hess Drilling Simulation Lab, and a history of oil and gas atrium display.

“More than just the buildings to house programs, the Collaborative Energy Complex is about people, about collaboration, about innovation, about building bridges between industries,” said Hesham El-Rewini, dean of the UND College of Engineering & Mines. “Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we will be able to better educate and produce generations of engineers who will contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of North Dakota, the region and the nation.”

In the four years of its existence, UND’s College of Engineering and Mines Department of Petroleum Engineering has seen a huge increase in enrollment, growing from just four students to more than 200.

Hess has been operating in North Dakota for more than 60 years. The commitment to UND is the company’s latest citizenship effort in the state. In addition, Hess is providing $25 million through Succeed 2020, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the transition to higher education and careers for North Dakota students.

“Investing in our students means investing in our future, and it’s one of the best decisions one could possibly make,” said El-Rewini.

This gift is among the largest from a corporation to UND. The university currently has pledges and commitments of $11.8 million toward the $15.5 million needed for the new complex.

“The partnership being demonstrated–between the Hess Corporation, the state of North Dakota through Gov. Dalrymple and the Higher Education Challenge Fund, the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, and the UND College of Engineering & Mines–is exactly the kind of private-public collaboration which will help us advance the University and achieve our goals related to serving North Dakota,” said UND President Robert Kelley.

Along with donating money to UND, Hess Corp., a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, has also been on the radar for its recently completed expansion of its Tioga Gas Plant, which more than doubles the capacity of the facility.

According to Hess, the facility has significantly increased production of propane, methane, butane and natural gasoline, and of ethane. The expansion reduces the amount of natural gas flared at Hess’s operations, which has been a huge issue in North Dakota.

“Hess has a long history in North Dakota, and it’s great news the company is continuing to invest in our state and build on its current facilities,” said U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. “With natural gas, North Dakota has an excellent opportunity to greatly expand its already incredible energy production and move toward fully using our vast natural resources. To make this a reality, we need to make significant infrastructure investments, which is why the Tioga Gas Plant expansion is so important.”