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Energy & Environment

Helms: 'Brexit' may delay a recovery in the Bakken

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Global markets are showing some uncertainty – because of the vote in England to leave the European Union.

Oil prices were not immune – dropping to under $50 a barrel.

What does that mean for the Bakken?

"It postpones these 90-day windows and 'price points' for the oil industry," said state mineral resources director Lynn Helms. "We're still solidly in the price window for work-over rigs that are working on the 1600 inactive wells. But it puts us further away from the price point that generates hydraulic fracturuing activity."

Helms says that point -- $50 a barrel for three months -- generates a lot of tax revenues for the state, once the 900 wells awating frack crews are ready.

"The 900 non-completed wells are money in the bank," Helms said. "Once we reach that price point, then the companies will get serious about cashing in."

But Helms said the industry remains optimistic.

"Our rig count is actually up a couple of rigs," Helms said. "It's now at 30. And if there are at least 90 days with prices above $60 a barrel, it assures the companies that drilling will be economic."

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