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Energy & Environment

Dalrymple: Oil price needs to get to $45/barrel for activity to pick up

Experts say the slowdown in the oil patch is directly tied to the oil price.

So – what will it take to get the industry drilling and completing already drilled wells?

Gov. Jack Dalrymple told the recent state demographics conference in Bismarck – the industry calls $40 per barrel the break-even price. But he says it will take more than that.

"Somewhere around $45 a barrel, we should begin to see some wells being completed," Dalrymple said. "Certainly around $50 a barrel, there should be a lot more activity."

Dalrymple says around 1000 wells have been drilled – but still need to be fracked. And he says that fracking process is where a lot of the economic activity around oil wells happens.

"We've estimated that each completion of a well produces about $200,000 in sales tax revenue to the state of North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "That means this is, in a way, tax revenue in the bank, waiting to be collected."

Dalrymple says that would be $200 million alone.

Earlier this year, Dalrymple ordered state agencies to slice their budgets by 4.05 percent, because of lower than expected tax collections.

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