Friday, April 20, 2012

Newfield makes donation to UBATC

Growing up on the Uintah-Ouray reservation, Lelylah Longhair vowed to make a good life for herself. Energy-related courses offered at the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College have helped the Ute Tribal member do just that.

Now, thanks to a $250,000 donation from Newfield Exploration Company, many more Uintah Basin residents will get that same opportunity.

Daryll Howard, vice president of Newfield's Rocky Mountain division, and Reed Durfey, district manager for the company's Uintah Basin operations, were on hand to present the check to UBATC's President Mark Walker at a Thursday ceremony.

For Newfield, the donation was not just pure philanthropy. They get something out of it as well, said Howard: A well-trained workforce ready to get to work in the Basin. “We see tremendous growth potential in the Uintah Basin,” Howard said. “We need a trained, educated workforce to participate in it with us.”

Durfey said the impact on the area's economy, and need for skilled workers, is obvious. Newfield currently has 460 employees working out of its Myton office. Utah's position as one of the leading energy producers is only going to expand, Howard said. Production has risen steadily since 2004, when Newfield began operations in the Basin. In 2011, production grew by 6.5 percent, he said. That's going to lead to a need for more trained workers, he said.

Walker said the donation would help the UBATC serve its students. “If it weren't for people like Newfield, we wouldn't be where we are today,” Walker said. “This is huge.” Walker said the UBATC can help educate area students to better themselves and their families' situation.
That rang true for Longhair. “UBATC has supplemented my knowledge of the oil and gas fields,” she said. “Living in the Basin, you only see bits and pieces. This program allowed me to see how complex it is. It educated me in a way I didn't think was possible.”

Longhair hopes to use her education to be an entrepreneur or executive in an oil and gas-related field, she said. For Walker, that's what the UBATC programs are all about. “So much of the Basin's employment is around oil and gas,” he said. “We want to train our own people to do these jobs.” Uintah Basin Standard