Low oil prices ‘extremely brutal’ for North Dakota’s oil industry

The spread of the new coronavirus has halted travel and prompted a price war between two of the world’s biggest oil producers, putting many in the Bakken on edge as the outlook for the oil industry turns bleak.

“It’s been extremely brutal,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “We’re going to see a reaction to this. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

Low oil prices are already causing companies to cut workers’ hours in the Bakken and will likely lead to layoffs as the state braces for a drop in oil tax revenue. One company, MBI Energy Services, told the state this week that it plans to cut at least 200 jobs.