About 380 oil wells in North Dakota are in the process of being plugged, and the land reclaimed in about half of those cases.

These are all abandoned or orphaned wells taken over by the state’s Oil and Gas Division for that reason.

About 1,000 workers who lost their jobs in the oil field during the pandemic were put back to work.

We asked the Director of the Department of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms what will happen when that work is gone when the freeze hits.

Helms says a solution is in the works.

Oil and Gas has proposed the completion of DUC wells to lawmakers. He says there are about 850 of these wells that have been drilled but left uncompleted because of the current oil price.

The plan is to give grants to oil operators to finish these jobs, and employ 500 to 1,000 people again, and create another 200 to 300 jobs through the winter.

“Our hope is then, that by the time that plays itself out and we get to next spring, that we’re at $45 West Texas and the completion of DUC wells will be economic on its own,” Helms added.

A few more wells are still being considered for plugging and reclamation. Helms says the project will stop when money from the CARES Act and the legislature runs out.