News Ticker


iPIPE Receives Chairman's Stewardship Award

At the 2019 Annual Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) Conference, the Intelligent Pipeline IntegrityProgram (iPIPE) received the Chairman’s Stewardship Award for Environmental Partnership.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, 2019 IOGCC Chairman, presented the stewardship award to iPIPE at this year’s conference.

“By harnessing the power of technology and public-private partnerships, iPIPE is making great strides toward solutions to the problem of pipeline leaks or spills within the gathering system in our state,” said Governor Burgum, who also chairs the North Dakota Industrial Commission. “We appreciate IOGCC members for recognizing the efforts made by industry and the Industrial Commission to address this important issue through innovation, and congratulations to all of the program partners.”

Since its inception in 1935, the IOGCC Commission has voiced the need for sound oil and natural gas environmental policy. In 2001, the Commission initiated the annual Chairman's Stewardship Awards, which represent the Commission's highest honor for exemplary efforts in environmental stewardship. The awards recognize achievement and challenge organizations, companies and individuals nationwide to demonstrate innovation, dedication and passion for our environment.

IOGCC membership is comprised of governors of oil and gas producing states, as well as appointed representatives. Other affiliates include the Dept. of Energy, Dept. of the Interior, EPA, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

“It’s an honor that the efforts of iPIPE received this recognition for innovation, dedication and passion for the environment,” said Brent Lohnes, general manager in North Dakota for Hess Corporation and iPIPE consortium partner. “With our core industry partners, iPIPE has embraced the best of new technologies and is improving the safety of pipeline operations.”

As a consortium program, iPIPE is currently actively directed by nine members and one cost-match partner, including Andeavor, DCP Midstream, Enbridge, Equinor, Goodnight Midstream, Hess Corp., Oasis Midstream Partners, ONEOK, Whiting Petroleum, and the North Dakota Industrial Commission (cost-match partner).

About iPIPE

iPIPE is an industry-led consortium whose focus is to contribute to the advancement of near-commercial, emerging technologies to prevent and detect gathering pipeline leaks. The program is a direct response to North Dakota Governor Burgum’s May 2017 challenge to industry to think outside the box and apply new technology to address the challenge of eliminating pipeline leaks. Early success of iPIPE has resulted in three new program members since its founding, increased awareness resulting in new emerging technologies coming forth, and enhanced communication about advances made in pipeline safety. We anticipate that many of the technologies advanced through this program will have applications in other pipeline sectors as well. This unique program is currently funding approximately $4 million in development and demonstration activities over the course of almost 4 years. As additional pipeline operators join the program as members, additional funding will be applied to pursue more technology development efforts.

For more information, contact:
Nikki Massmann, EERC

EERC Welcomes Tyler Clark

Tyler Clark has joined the EERC as a Software Developer, where he develops new and improves existing web-based and desktop software solutions for the EERC and its clients. His main areas of interest and expertise are web development, application development, and database programming. He looks forward to designing and creating mobile applications for the Software Solutions Group.

“One thing that interests me the most about my job at the EERC is that there are different kinds of projects that are all happening at once, giving us all something unique to do,” Tyler said, “but the best thing I like about my job here is how friendly and approachable everyone is.” 

Tyler holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of North Dakota, where. He previously worked as a Research Assistant assisting in the development of a web-based geographic information system (GIS) application to help researchers visualize West Nile virus occurrence and trends across North Dakota. 

Tyler gained an early interest in computers and how they work after being introduced to them by his father. As he got older, he took computer-related courses in high school, and eventually decided to major in Computer Science. 

Tyler is originally from Grand Forks. Outside of work, Tyler is an avid learner, particularly in regard to history and space. “It is important to know our own history, so the same mistakes don’t happen again,” he said. Space intrigues him because there is so much we do not know.

EERC Named Among 50 Best Places to Work

The September issue of Prairie Business names and honors the 50 Best Places to Work in the northern Plains. 

Earlier this year, employees nominated the organizations by submitting anonymous employee-satisfaction surveys, and Prairie Business used the survey results in selecting the 50 Best. The survey sought input on each employer’s benefits, workplace culture and employee morale, among other factors. And employees responded. Prairie Business this year received more than 1,400 nominations from employees from around the region. In 2018, there were approximately 1,300 nominations. 

“Each year, it seems we’re awed by the number of nominations we receive,” Prairie Business Publisher Korrie Wenzel said. “This year, it has happened again. And after reading through the nominations, it is hard not to be impressed by the passionate comments made by so many employees at these great companies.” Prairie Business is proud to present the results of the contest, which now is in its fifth year. 

“It takes so much to be a great place to work. Obviously, it’s more than just pay or vacation time,” Wenzel said. “This year’s winners are good examples of companies that are working hard to make work fulfilling. It’s nice to see that it’s happening in so many places in our region.”

The 50 Best winners will be honored in the magazine, which can be viewed online.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current job openings

EERC Welcomes Renee Carlson

The EERC is pleased to welcome Renee Carlson, Accounting/Travel Specialist with the Financial Services Team. Renee is responsible for processing accounting transactions, coordinating travel and processes reimbursements, and reallocating purchasing card transactions.

“I enjoy the customer service aspect of working in the travel office, and the fast-paced environment makes the workday fly by,” Renee said. She says she was drawn to the position because of her previous experience as a travel agent and her work at American Express Corporate Travel in Omaha, Nebraska.

Renee brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of UND to her position at the EERC, having previously worked as the Institutional Review Board Coordinator in the Office of Research at UND for 5 years. She most recently worked as an Administrative Secretary in UND’s Chemistry Department.

“The people at the EERC have been so friendly and welcoming. Everyone has been so helpful, and I feel like I am part of a team here,” said Renee.

Renee has a bachelor’s degree in Law & Justice from Trenton State College in Ewing, New Jersey, where she was born and raised. She moved to the Midwest after college and has lived in North Dakota and Minnesota. She and her family moved back to the Grand Forks area in 2017.

Renee has two boys, ages 13 and 7, with her husband, a health care administrator. They enjoy watching the boys play baseball in the summer and basketball in the winter. As a family, they like watching movies together and taking their boat out to the Otter Tail area when they have a free weekend. To make the long winters more bearable, the family goes snowmobiling and ice fishing on “warmer” winter days. Renee also enjoys golfing, attending Fighting Hawk football and hockey games, and cheering on the Twins and Vikings.

State Energy Research Center at EERC Hosts Collaboration Meeting

SERC Director Tom Erickson leads a group tour of the EERC's Technology Demonstration area.
Leaders from university campuses throughout North Dakota gathered to discuss collaboration efforts around energy education. The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) hosted the event as part of its work as the newly designated State Energy Research Center of North Dakota (SERC).

Attendees discussed the energy industry’s contribution to the economy of North Dakota and how each campus incorporates energy and environmental education into its curricula. The group, consisting of representatives from Minot State University, the University of Jamestown, Dickinson State University, the University of North Dakota, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, Williston State College, Valley City State University, and North Dakota State University, discussed current and future needs in regard to energy education and what could be accomplished through collaboration and SERC funding.

“By working together and sharing outreach and educational resources, we can better serve North Dakota and our citizens,” said Tom Erickson, SERC Director.

The group will continue discussions and plan projects to enhance energy education in North Dakota. For more information, contact Tom Erickson.


EERC Welcomes Xue Yu

Dr. Xue Yu has joined the EERC as a Reservoir Analytics Scientist. Xue works with a multidisciplinary team of EERC scientists and engineers to lead development of advanced analytics that incorporate leading-edge concepts, strategies, and data applications that improve the performance of CO2 enhanced oil recovery, CO2 storage, and unconventional hydrocarbon recovery projects.

“I’m very proud to be part of the EERC. It is a leader in energy and environmental technologies, and I really like that the EERC cares about and values its people as the strength on which to build its continued success,” Xue said.

His principal areas of interest and expertise include multidisciplinary project work that encompasses geology, hydrogeology, environmental research, and sociodemographic studies using tools such as machine learning, business analytics, geospatial analysis, and time series analysis.

“I was drawn to reservoir analytics because it allows me to thrive. It gives me the opportunity to use my knowledge and abilities in data science and machine learning as well as my multidisciplinary research experience, all while working in the challenging and rewarding field of energy and the environment,” Xue said.

Xue holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University, a Masters of Science in Business Analytics from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Engineering from Yangtze University, Hubei, China. He previously worked for Carlson Analytics Lab in the Twin Cities.

Xue is originally from Hubei, China, famously known as the province of a thousand lakes. Xue’s wife, Xiaoli Guo, is an Assistant Professor for UND Accounting. Their son, who already loves science, will start 3rd grade this fall. They enjoy going out to eat, traveling to new places, watching movies at the cinema, and playing board games.

An avid reader, Xue likes reading fiction and classic literature from China and the world. Xue also enjoys soccer, boxing, and working out at the gym.

Gorecki Selected to Lead EERC

On July 9, Charles Gorecki was named CEO of the EERC by University of North Dakota Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas DiLorenzo. Read the full article at UND Today.

The announcement was made as former CEO Tom Erickson announced June 11 that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO of the EERC and will transition into a new role to head up the newly established State Energy Research Center.

EERC Welcomes John Oleksik

John Oleksik has joined the EERC as a Research Engineer in the Advanced Energy Systems Group. John contributes to the development and testing of new technologies through conceptualization, design, logistical planning, system construction, system commissioning and operation, data reduction, and troubleshooting. 

“I love the learning that happens every day. The staff at the EERC are experts in so many different areas, and I find that every day I can come home with a new bit of information. Sometimes it’s a nuance to a system I’m working on or a project I’m interested in. Other times it can be about brewing beer,” says John, who adds that not a day goes by that the people he works with don’t shed some new light on the work he’s doing and on interesting topics in general. 

John holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Petroleum Engineering and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from the University of North Dakota. 

“I’m always excited by what’s been done here and what direction we might be going in the future. I like that I’m always doing something different,” John says. “With the variety, each change presents new challenges. The biggest thing that drew me to engineering is the opportunity to work through problems. Problem solving is great in that some of the greatest frustrations lead to the greatest satisfaction when an issue is addressed.” 

John’s parents emigrated from Poland to Williston, North Dakota, where John grew up. He is “somewhat fluent” in Polish, loves Polish cooking, and has traveled to Poland five times.
“My Polish heritage is something I’ve taken more pride and interest in the older I get,” he says.
John is married to Jasmine Oleksik, also a Research Engineer at the EERC. Their No. 1 hobby is traveling—whether it be a day trip, weekend away, or long vacations. They love spending time outdoors, skiing, hiking, camping, but John says they also love to explore new cities, breweries, and enjoy shows, concerts, and sporting events. They also like to cook and spend time with friends.