North Dakota plans to spend $66 million to plug wells abandoned by oil and gas companies in the U.S. state after the pandemic crushed demand for crude, causing a plunge in prices.
The $66 million has come from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, said Katie Haarsager, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division, which is undertaking the project.
The move is expected to create jobs and keep some of the oilfield services companies at work in the second-largest oil producing state, as energy-related revenues plummet.
Well plugging is expected to sustain more than 600 oil and gas service sector jobs with 300 to 500 additional jobs managing reclamation of the sites, a statement from North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources said.
The impact of the virus and trade war on the state’s key industries of energy and agriculture could ripple through its budget for years through cuts to education, government and highway services.
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