The oil and gas industry in North Dakota remains a powerhouse for the state’s economy, accounting for more than $42.6 billion in gross business volume, nearly 50,000 jobs and $3.8 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2021, according to two studies highlighted today by Gov. Doug Burgum, researchers from North Dakota State University and industry officials.
“The oil and natural gas industry continues to be a game-changer for North Dakota,” Burgum said. “Taxes and royalties paid by the industry support our state’s significant investments in infrastructure, schools, communities, tax relief and the Legacy Fund, among other areas. The industry’s resiliency in the face of challenges such as the pandemic, extreme weather, volatile prices and misguided federal policies, demonstrates that it will continue to play a critically important role in North Dakota’s economy for generations to come.”
North Dakota State University researchers Dean Bangsund and Nancy Hodur studied the economic contribution of oil and gas exploration, extraction, transportation, processing and capital investments to the state in 2021, the most recent data available. Similar studies have been conducted every two years since 2005.
Their findings show North Dakota’s oil and gas industry directly employed 14,200 people in 2021, while economic activity from the indirect and induced effects of the industry supported an additional 35,185 jobs, for a total of 49,385 jobs attributed to the industry. Employment compensation, which includes wages, salaries and employee benefits, was estimated at $3.9 billion.
Total gross business volume, which includes direct sales in the oil and gas industry and business generated from indirect and induced economic activity throughout North Dakota, was estimated at $42.58 billion – an increase of $2.38 billion over 2019 and over 30% of the state’s overall gross business volume.
Bangsund said that while the pandemic made the last few years challenging, the oil and gas industry has learned how to maintain production through efficiencies and most of the industry’s key economic metrics are at or near pre-COVID levels.
“The North Dakota oil and natural gas industry’s economic contribution to our state has been very stable even through challenges, and it remains incredibly resilient,” said Bangsund, a research scientist in agribusiness and applied economics at NDSU.
According to another recent study conducted for the Western Dakota Energy Association (WDEA) and North Dakota Petroleum Foundation, tax revenues paid by the oil and natural gas industry in North Dakota from fiscal years 2008 to 2022, supported $5.9 billion for local communities and infrastructure, over $1.8 billion for K-12 education, $1.4 billion for water and flood control projects, over $1 billion for property tax relief, and $32 million for outdoor heritage projects across the state. Additionally, $8 billion in oil and gas taxes went into the Legacy Fund, which benefits future generations.
“The impact of the oil and natural gas industry can be seen throughout the state. From education funding to property tax relief to infrastructure funding, every county and community has and continues to benefit from this industry,” WDEA Executive Director Geoff Simon said.
Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, noted that North Dakota’s oil and natural gas industry pays more than half of all state taxes collected and provides nearly 50,000 good paying jobs in the state.
“Thanks to innovation, the tremendous resource of the Bakken, and billions of dollars invested in infrastructure by our industry, the state can count on us to continue to be a major force in the North Dakota economy for years to come,” Ness said.