After 25 years of service to the oil and gas industry, Lynn Helms announces retirement

(Bismarck, ND) -- For 25 years, Lynn Helms has served the Oil and Gas industry. And for the last 18, after the Oil and Gas Division merged with the North Dakota Geological Survey, helps has served as Director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

On June 30, Helms will retire.

Helms made the announcement during the regular meeting of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which oversees the Department of Mineral Resources and consists of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Attorney General Drew Wrigley and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

“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. His colleagues have immense respect for him, and he is recognized as an international leader in his field, especially by his counterparts on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. His highly capable and balanced approach to regulatory oversight has allowed our oil and gas industry to thrive and generate tax revenues that have built a multi-billion-dollar legacy for future generations of North Dakotans. We are deeply grateful for Lynn’s service and commitment to ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership, and we wish him all the best in retirement.”

During Helm’s tenure, North Dakota’s average daily oil production increased from 99,217 barrels per day in 1998 to an all-time high of 1,519,037 in 2019 before stabilizing at roughly 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2023. Additionally, natural gas capture has reached an all-time high of over 3.2 billion cubic feet per day.  

The Industrial Commission today approved a search committee to begin the executive recruitment process. The search committee will consist of representatives from the Office of the Industrial Commission, representatives from each of the three commissioners’ offices, two members of the Oil and Gas Research Council, the director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority and a staff advisor from the Department of Mineral Resources.

“Thanks to the legacy Lynn is leaving, we are confident that the next director will be able to build upon a strong foundation toward further success,” added the Commission.

The search committee will begin its work immediately and will present its recommended candidates to the Industrial Commission later in 2024 for consideration.