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The energy industry under a Biden administration

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:53 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20, he issued a number of executive orders.

One of which revokes the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, effectively halting construction on the project.

Although the Keystone XL Pipeline doesn’t go through North Dakota, the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline does.

State oil industry leaders said this first executive order to rescind a pipeline’s permit is a strong signal from President Biden’s administration on the battles that lie ahead.

Some energy leaders said the halt on constructing the Keystone XL Pipeline won’t have an immediate impact on the state.

They’re even hoping it’s a ‘them not us’ scenario.

“We’re kind of now at this point hoping that Keystone XL is the sacrificial lamb and that DAPL is allowed to move forward because it really is our critical infrastructure. But I don’t want to minimize the pain of Keystone being gone and what that means in terms of the attitude of this administration,” said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.

But others are hoping the executive order is just the beginning. In a statement, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said “we are glad to see President Biden following through on major areas of concern on his first day in office” and added, in regards to Dakota Access, they’re “still fighting their own battle.”

With many production setbacks in 2020, like the price war and the coronavirus pandemic, Lynn Helms wants 2021 to at least bring stability.

“Declining production December, January, February. Stabilizing and flat and maybe a little bit up through the end of the year. And then it’s that second year where the uncertainty lies,” said Helms.

The uncertainty in 2022 is whether or not drilling rigs will come back.

Helms said he thinks production could increase by the end of that year. But the state’s revenue forecast is more conservative about where the oil and gas industry may be by the end of 2022.

Going forward, Department of Mineral Resources leaders said they’re simply focusing on trying to maintain staying above one million barrels per day.

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