Viewpoint: Oil and natural gas power North Dakota’s economy
The billions of dollars this industry pays every year are helping fund everything from education to road construction to flood control to tax relief.
Results of the most recent NDSU economic impact study are in and to no surprise, the oil and natural gas industry continues to be a major force in North Dakota’s economy. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the 2023 legislative session. Taxes paid by the oil and gas industry account for over half of all taxes collected each year by the state. The billions of dollars this industry pays every year are helping fund everything from education to road construction to flood control to tax relief.
And the impact of the taxes and royalties paid by our industry touches every corner of our state. These dollars end up in counties and communities across North Dakota. In fact, every single county in our state receives funding from the oil and natural gas taxes and royalties through special funds established by the legislature. The $8 billion N.D. Legacy Fund, funded entirely by oil taxes and the earnings they generate, ensures that North Dakota will benefit from our industry now and in future generations.
The importance of North Dakota’s oil and natural gas doesn’t end with the taxes we pay. We also employ almost 50,000 people in the state. These are good paying jobs with a total annual payroll of almost $4 billion. Our industry has also invested – and will continue to invest – billions of dollars into construction of infrastructure needed to do business in our state to ensure our citizens benefit from North Dakota’s God-given resources for decades to come.
We continue to successfully balance the need to develop our state’s resources while minimizing the impact on our wildlife, air and land. We are capturing record amounts of natural gas reducing flaring. New technologies and efficiencies are allowing us to produce oil and natural gas with less impact on the environment. It is safe to say that North Dakota produces the cleanest barrel of oil in the world today. In fact, an oil company has begun injections using captured carbon emissions for enhanced oil recovery in Bowman County, restoring new life to an aging oil field.
North Dakotans should also be proud of the role our state is playing in world affairs. The war in Ukraine is a good reminder of the importance of energy security and how North Dakota is integral to providing safe, abundant, efficient and affordable energy for our country and the world. Furthermore, instead of buying oil from unfriendly nations, North Dakota helps keep jobs and energy spending right here at home where it belongs.
Despite COVID, a federal administration hostile to fossil fuel energy, and the shaky world economy our industry has faced these last couple of years, the North Dakota oil and natural gas industry is strong. The work we do is incredibly important to our state, our nation and the world. We have proven to be resilient and well prepared to meet the challenges of the future.
You can find the full study results on the North Dakota Petroleum Foundation’s website at