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Lynn Helms, a North Dakota oil regulator, will retire



Bismarck, North Dakota – Lynn Helms, the director of mineral resources for North Dakota and the state’s authority on oil during the Bakken boom, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Helms declared his intention during a North Dakota Industrial Commission hearing.

“Words cannot begin to describe the immense value that Lynn Helms has brought to North Dakota,” Industrial Commission members said in a joint statement. “Under his leadership, our state has emerged as an energy powerhouse, in addition to being a global leader in carbon management.”

Governor Doug Burgum, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring comprise the Industrial Commission.

Helms described his resignation as “bittersweet” during the meeting.

In 1998, Helms was given the position of Division Chief for Oil and Gas. Helms has been the director of the Department of Mineral Resources since the Oil and Gas Division amalgamated with the North Dakota Geological Survey in 2005.

Northwest North Dakota, which is currently the third-largest producer of crude oil in the state, would see a boom in oil production in the ensuing years.

According to the Industrial Commission, under Helms’ administration, North Dakota’s average daily oil output rose from 99,217 barrels in 1998 to an all-time high of 1,519,037 in 2019, before settling at about 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2023.

This year, the state is expected to generate its fifth billion barrels of oil.

As of June 30, Helms has officially retired.

A search committee was authorized by the Industrial Commission to locate Helms’ replacement.

The search committee will be composed of the director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, two members of the Oil and Gas Research Council, a staff adviser from the Department of Mineral Resources, representatives from the Office of the Industrial Commission, and representatives from each of the three commissioners’ offices.

Helms’ “highly capable and balanced approach” to regulatory monitoring was acknowledged by the commissioners.

Helms has occasionally been charged with being an advocate for the oil business by his detractors.

Burgum expressed his hope that Helms would assist in finding a replacement.

“I will help out in every way that I can,” Helms said. “It’s a fun job.”