The North Dakota Industrial Commission (IC) on Tuesday adopted remedies that may protect oil and gas producers during an expected spike in idle wells from the global economic slowdown.

Following a review, the IC headed by Gov. Doug Burgum directed the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to establish one-year, renewable waivers for new wells that under normal conditions are required to be operated or abandoned within one year.

Waivers would be invalid after the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil is at $50/bbl or more for 90 days, according to the order.

DMR Director Lynn Helms last week said the IC was likely to take action with the price of Bakken oil dropping. “Inactive wells and abandoned ones are a huge concern long-term for the commission,” he said.

The well waiver guidelines for uncompleted wells allow the operators to apply for not-completed status, along with similar guidelines for inactive and temporarily abandoned surface casing (TASC) status.

Waivers would only be given under certain conditions, such as when a well has been drilled but the casing has not been perforated. Waivers also could be provided for inactive wells that have met certain criteria, as well as for TASC status wells.