Core library expansion completed, under budget

Aug 8, 2017

The expansion of a special library on the UND campus is now complete.

And it came in under budget.

The library in question is the Wilson M.Laird Core and Sample Library. It’s used by scientists, and by the oil industry.

"When a company drills a well, it is required to the cuttings, the samples as the drill bit grinds through the rocks, which are collected at the surface," said state Geologist Ed Murphy. "And then any core that they take, they are required to give us a representative copy."

The original library was built in 1980. And it has been an important part of oil development.

"Just one of teh oil plays from Whiting Petroleum had come up with by studying core would pay for a new core library every 320 days," Murphy said.

Murphy said Whiting’s study done in the core library led to the drilling of 217 oil wells in Billings and Stark Counties.

The library contains 85 miles of core in 150-thousand boxes.  There are 45-thousand boxes of samples, and hundreds of thousands of photographs.

Murphy said then came the Bakken development – and the library started filling up.

"It filled up much quicker than we anticipated," Murphy said.

So, the 2015 Legislature was asked for funding. Lawmakers gave the project $13.6 million.

"We returned $331,962. 92," said Murphy.

In addition to the storage area, five new laboratories were built. And Murphy said there should be plenty of space – for a while.

"This one we built to hopefully get 50 to 60 years out of it, before it fills up," Murphy said.