Polyethylene pipe extruder WL Plastics Corp. plans to build a plant and bring 40 jobs to Rapid City, S.D., lured by the Williston Basin oil boom in Montana and North and South Dakota.
Mike Dahl, a director of WL Plastics, said the company has an option to buy land. The plant will have a rail spur, he said.
“We're in the middle of design right now, and so once we complete our design and finalize our budget, then we'll move ahead,” Dahl said in a June 15 telephone interview. “Our intent is by the end of summer, we'll have a fully articulated budget and will break ground.”
The Rapid City Opportunity Capture Fund approved a $500,000 package of incentives for the plant, which includes an infrastructure development loan and a grant for job creation, according to a story in the Rapid City Journal.
Rapid City would be the seventh plant for Casper, Wyo.-based WL Plastics, which has focused on the energy sector — and grown rapidly along with new sources of oil and natural gas in the U.S. and Canada. The company's sixth plant opened at the beginning of June, in Snyder, Texas, a major oil-producing region.
In the energy market, PE pipe is used for gas and oil gathering and mining. PE pipe also is making inroads into water and sewer and other municipal infrastructure applications.
The Williston Basin, part of the Bakken oil formation, is a major draw, but WL Plastics serves a broader market area, Dahl said.
“That certainly is part of it. We look at our different market segments and our customers in those market segments, and try to provide service to them. Oil and gas gathering will also be part of the mix, but we'll also service the mining and water and sewer areas,” Dahl said.
Rapid City Major Sam Kooiker said WL Plastics is big news in his city of 70,000 people. “We're very excited about having this,” he said.
The mayor said Rapid City is luring a lot of retail and service industry development. Tourism is strong, since the town is close to Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, national parks and Indian reservations.
“But we haven't been booming in the industrial sector. That's what's so exciting about WL Plastics coming to town. We believe that this will be an anchor for additional oil field investments in Rapid City,” Kooiker said.
On June 9, Rapid City residents commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Black Hills Flood of 1972, which killed 238 people. After the tragedy, Kooiker said, Rapid City did not allow people to build in a flood plane, and created a greenway along Rapid Creek. The mayor said the city's extensive park system helps make it a good place to live.