Oil prices back to break-even, as the state looks at financial solutions

Oil prices are back at “break-even,” at about $15 a barrel this week, up from a low of negative-10 dollars a barrel.

Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says it’s not profitable to reopen the 750 idle wells in the state until prices are back up to at least $25 a barrel. He says $45 is considered “thriving”.

Right now, he estimates about 6,500 North Dakota oil and gas workers have been laid off.

The Department of Mineral Resources, alongside the State Emergency Commission, is working on several plans that could get people back to work in other ways as soon as next month.

“One of the things we’ve put out there that everybody really likes is: Every state in the nation that produces oil and gas has a problem with abandoned and orphaned wells. We think this is an opportunity to fund the plugging and reclamation of those wells. It will put work-over crews, cement crews, fishing tool hands to work. It will put environmental companies to work reclaiming those locations,” Helms shared.

That’s just one of a few ideas being considered. Helms says he doesn’t see oil production opening back up until the end of the year, if not early next year.