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N. Dakota Regulators Have Rejected Imposing Mandatory Production Cuts on the Oil Industry

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota regulators have rejected imposing mandatory production cuts on the oil industry.

Both Texas and Oklahoma rejected similar proposals this year as oil prices fell during the coronavirus pandemic. The three-member North Dakota Industrial Commission decided unanimously to dismiss the idea following a lengthy hearing in May.

Many oil producers and tribal mineral owners from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation opposed mandatory production cuts, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

“Let’s let the private sector hammer out some of these things and where government can assist and intervene we’ll do so, but it’s probably best if we don’t go down this road,” state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said Tuesday.

State regulators have imposed production cuts before, in the 1950s and 1960s during the early days of North Dakota’s oil industry. But since then, the industry has grown much more complex, State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said. But regulators still have the authority to declare oil as a “waste” if prices get low, and effectively require that oil producers curtail their output.

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