Lynn D. HelmsDirector

Bruce E. Hicks, Assistant Director Oil and Gas Division

Edward C. Murphy, Assistant Director Geological Survey, State Geologist

About DMR

About DMR
The Legislature created the Industrial Commission of North Dakota in 1919 to conduct and manage, on behalf of the State, certain utilities, industries, enterprises, and business projects established by state law. The North Dakota Industrial Commission is made up of :
  • Doug Burgum, Governor
  • Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General
  • Doug Goehring, Agriculture Commissioner
The Industrial Commission has jurisdiction over oil and gas resources, the investigation and publication of geological information and the regulation of coal exploration, geophysical exploration, geothermal energy, paleontology resources, subsurface minerals, geophysical exploration, underground storage and retrieval of nonhydrocarbons, high-level radioactive waste disposal, and carbon dioxide underground storage in North Dakota through the Department of Mineral Resources Geological Survey and Oil and Gas Division.
The Industrial Commission appoints the Director of the Department of Mineral Resources, who serves as Director of the Oil and Gas Division and appoints the State Geologist and Assistant Director of the Oil and Gas Division.

1895 - Geological Survey

The North Dakota Geological Survey and the position of State Geologist were created by an act of the North Dakota Legislature in 1895, six years after statehood. During the first half of the 20th Century, the NDGS focused their studies on the coal and clay resources of North Dakota.  With the discovery of oil near Tioga in 1951, the NDGS grew rapidly to both research the geology of the petroleum-bearing formations and regulate the exploration, and production of the resource. The Department of Mineral Resources offices are located in Bismarck.  The NDGS also operates the Johnsrud Paleontology Laboratory and the Geologic Time Gallery in the North Dakota Heritage Center as well as the recently expanded Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library located on the campus of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

1981 - Oil and Gas Division

The Oil and Gas Division was established by the 1981 Legislature to assume the oil and gas regulatory duties of the NDGS. In 1989 the State Legislature moved the NDGS from the jurisdiction of the Board of Higher Education to the Industrial Commission. Regulation of geophysical exploration was added to the duties of the Oil and Gas Division on July 1, 1997. Regulation of underground gathering pipelines was added to the duties of the Oil and Gas Division on July 1, 2013. The Oil and Gas Division was approved by the EPA for primacy over Class VI injection wells on April 24, 2018.  The Oil and Gas Division operates field offices in Williston, Dickinson, and Minot.

2005 - Department of Mineral Resources

The 2003 (58th) Legislature passed an amended Industrial Commission appropriations bill, calling for a merger of the NDGS and the Oil and Gas Division to be accomplished by July 1, 2005.  On July 1, 2005, legislation passed during the 2005 (59th) Legislative Session placed the NDGS and the Oil and Gas Division into the newly created Department of Mineral Resources.