Bakken Restart employing more people than expected, but won't be able to reclaim as many sites as hoped
Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Bakken Restart program is putting more people back to work then anticipated and on track to plug 391 wells before the end of the year, but the program likely cannot finish as many reclamation as initially hoped. At least, not with CARES Act money. 

Director of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the Williston Herald the Bakken Restart well plugging and reclamation program has so far plugged 67 wells at a cost of $7.5 million and put about 700 people to work for 29,000 man hours. 

The initial estimate for the plugging part of the project was just 550 people.

"It takes a lot more people and equipment than we had thought going into this thing," Helms said. "But, really, the main purpose behind this was putting people to work, so we are OK with that."

Plugging wells is also costing a little more than expected, Helms said, particularly for older wells.

"We are hoping as we learn some lessons and work out some of the kinks, we will get that cost down," Helms said. "But between CARES Act Money and the Abandoned Well Fund money, we do have enough to get all the wells plugged."

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