North Dakota has launched a task force to help the oil industry and its service sectors recover from the demand shock of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bakken Restart Task Force is reviewing and will help organize regulatory streamlining, economic stimulus, and ideas for tax relief and low-cost financing for oil operations and related activity. Some of the assistance already has begun.
North Dakota has 6,800 wells shut in, amounting to 450,000 b/d of production, Director Lynn Helms of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources said May 6.
That was a 31% drop from the state’s 1.425 million b/d crude oil production in February as reported by the Energy Information Administration. Almost all of the state’s oil comes from Bakken shale and the underlying Three Forks shale.
“These are staggering numbers impacting North Dakota production,” Helms said.
The Bakken Restart Task Force pulls together representatives from the state’s departments of mineral resources, environmental quality, trust lands, tax, and commerce, its Pipeline Authority, Office of Management and Budget, and Bank of North Dakota. It will solicit input from industry as part of its work plan.
The task force will focus on three core areas:
- Streamlining regulatory requirements and clarifying relief efforts;
- Economic stimulus through identification of available programs and funding sources and a plan of investment in projects such as abandoned well plugging, environmental remediation, and research pilot projects, to get the service industry back to work;
- Long-term recovery plans, including proposals for tax relief, low-cost financing, suspension of fees, and reductions in bonding obligations.
Additional information and updates can be found through a dedicated page on The Department of Mineral Resources website.