Plain Talk: North Dakota’s goose still has plenty of golden eggs


MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota’s oil production has “matured.”

Another term for it might be “plateaued.”

That’s the estimate of Lynn Helms, who is the director of the oil and gas division of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources. On this episode of Plain Talk, he said the state has about a decade of steady production driving plenty of revenue — “this is a great time” for tax revenues from oil production, Helms says — but that we shouldn’t expect a lot of growth.

That might sound like sobering news in a state where oil activity drives an outsized portion of state tax revenues and commerce, but Helms isn’t striking a dour note.

Oil production may be plateauing, but gas production is not. The state is still very much in a growth phase when it comes to that commodity, and it can create a lot of other opportunities. Also, the state’s emerging carbon capture industry could be key in the development of enhanced oil production techniques that could put the state’s oil production back into the growth column.