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Bakken Restart Task Force to facilitate rapid industry recovery

Eloise Ogden/MDN Tankers and other cars are shown on the railroad tracks near Max in April. A Bakken Restart Task Force has been established in North Dakota to help restart the state’s oil and gas industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BISMARCK – The Department of Mineral Resources has established the Bakken Restart Task Force to facilitate rapid recovery of the oil and gas industry and supporting sectors impacted by COVID-related demand shock.

The task force includes Mineral Resources, Public Service Commission, Environmental Quality, Trust Lands, Pipeline Authority, Office of Management and Budget, Tax Department, Commerce, Bank of North Dakota and input requested from various industry subject matter experts.

“At this time, North Dakota has 6,800 wells shut-in – amounting to 450,000 barrels per day of production. There are still 27 rigs operating and five frac crews running. These are staggering numbers impacting North Dakota production.” said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources. “However, it was clear during the first meeting of the Bakken Restart Task Force that many great efforts are already under way across agencies to secure, strengthen, and stimulate North Dakota’s energy future.”

The Bakken Restart Task Force is focused on three core areas:

– Regulatory Relief: focused on assembling regulatory agencies to work as one toward identifying and streamlining regulatory requirements, clarifying and communicating existing relief efforts.

– Economic Stimulus: identifying all existing programs and funding sources, investing in projects with long-term benefit to the state such as abandoned well plugging, environmental remediation, research pilot projects, etc., to get the service industry back to work with the added benefit of investing in needed projects at a time when labor and service costs to the State are at an all-time low.

– Bakken Smart Restart: focused on the long-term recovery of our oil and gas industry, includes proposals for tax relief, low-cost financing.

Resources and information related to each of these areas will be posted online at www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas under the Bakken Restart Task Force link on the homepage. Action reports will be updated as the task force continues to review each area.

North Dakota’s oil and gas industry contributes to over 72,000 jobs and was forecasted to generate $4.9 billion revenue to the state from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021 – 57% of all revenue collected by the state. Establishment of this task force and its focus on the state’s energy future is a critical element for protecting these jobs and forging a smart path forward during an unparalleled time for communities and energy economy.

The Bakken Restart Task Force will continue to meet weekly to discuss focus areas and will maintain a list of actions taken designed to provide resources and updates to those Bakken businesses seeking information on relief available.

Bakken Restart Task Force Action Report is available at the following link. The report will be updated weekly by noon each Monday at www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas.

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