A Bakken Restart Task Force has been formed to help drive a “rapid recovery” of the oil and gas industry and supporting sectors affected by the COVID-19-driven collapse in oil demand.

Created by the Department of Mineral Resources, the task force represents Mineral Resources, the Public Service Commission, Environmental Quality, Trust Lands, the Pipeline Authority, Office of Management and Budget, the Tax Department, Commerce, the Bank of North Dakota and input from various industry 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 5 frac crews running. These are staggering numbers impacting North Dakota production.” said Director of the Department of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms.

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, and clarifying and communicating existing relief efforts.
  • Economic Stimulus, identifying all existing programs and funding sources, investing in projects with long-term benefits to the state such as abandoned well plugging, environmental remediation, research pilot projects, etc.
  • 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 the 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 impacts more than 72,000 jobs in the state. The industry was projected to generate $4.9 billion in revenue from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, or 57 percent of all revenue collected by the state.

That projection will likely be revised to reflect the startling drop in oil demand as the COVID-19 virus has slowed general travel across all modes of transportation.

The Bakken Restart Task Force Action Report is available at www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas.