North Dakota reports thousands of job losses at Bakken shale

Posted at 9:19 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 16:09:39-04

North Dakota's bustling oil industry has taken a blow to the chin as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic spreads worldwide.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources reported Tuesday as many as 2,200 layoffs tied to the state's oil and gas industry.

In his monthly Director's Cut, Department Director Lynn Helms said another 6,000 jobs are at risk as the industry reels from a sudden drop in both demand and price.

The latest North Dakota oil production report showed the state's oil industry produces 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

In February, North Dakota produced 42,079,847 barrels of oil, averaging 1,451,029 barrels per day.

Helms' report also included observations on the falling demand for oil. Demand in China, he said, is recovering but is not expected to reach full recovery until the fourth quarter of this year. Helms said other G20 nations have seen as much as a 20 to 60% reduction in road traffic as a result of.

Helms described Sunday's new OPEC agreement to cut 9.7 million barrels per day as "a good first step to establish a price floor." Tuesday's price for North Dakota sweet crude had dropped to $13.50/barrel. The state's all-time high of $136.29/barrel was set in July of 2008.

As of Tuesday, North Dakota had 34 active oil rigs in the state, compared to 55 this past January. The state's all-time rig count was 219, on May 29,2012.

Helms said given the current downturn, industry leaders project a 50 to 75% reduction in rig count through June.