Category Archives: political

Saskatchewan oil-rights sales up 30%


Released on February 8, 2018

Sustained interest in Saskatchewan’s southeast region generated the majority of revenue in the February public offering of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights on Tuesday, with the $3 million from that sale pushing the final total for the 2017-18 fiscal year to $65 million.

This total exceeds the previous fiscal year-end total of $50 million as industry activity and investment shows sustained signs of trending upward in the province.

“Saskatchewan is consistently a jurisdiction of choice for conventional producers looking for stability and solid returns,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. “Increased drilling activity and industry investment indicate that one of our key economic sectors continues to gather momentum and stimulate growth in the province.”

Southeast Saskatchewan remained the focus of attention with 52 leases, consisting of 3,448.152 hectares, fetching $2,452,992.19. Spartan Energy Corp. bid $1,039,679.96 for 18 leases in southeast Saskatchewan totaling 1,295.206 hectares. One lease south of Carnduff received a bonus bid of $325,346.74 for 129.5 hectares. This lease was purchased by Spartan Energy Corp. and is prospective for oil in the Midale and Frobisher Beds of the Madison Group.

Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry accounts for an estimated 15 per cent of the province’s total real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is the largest contributor among primary industries to provincial GDP.

In the Fraser Institute’s Annual Global Petroleum Survey for 2017, Saskatchewan ranked seventh out of 97 jurisdictions in the world in terms of overall attractiveness for oil and gas investment, and has consistently been among the top 10 jurisdictions over the past six iterations of the survey.

The next public offering of petroleum and natural gas rights will be held on April 10, 2018.


For more information, contact:

Deb Young
Phone: 306-787-4765

Evraz responds to pipeline dispute between B.C. and Alberta

Evraz responds to pipeline dispute between B.C. and Alberta


Evraz responds to pipeline dispute between B.C. and Alberta

Evraz North America, the company that operates Evraz Steel in Regina, is responding to the pipeline dispute between Alberta and British Columbia.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notely recently announced her province will be banning imports of wine from B.C.

This trade sanction is in retaliation to the B.C. government’s announcement of limiting the increase of diluted bitumen, which will effectively block the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Now Evraz is weighing in on the issue because thousands of jobs in Canada rely on the expansion of the pipeline.

“(Evraz) was awarded a contract to produce approximately 275 thousand tons of pipe for this pipeline at our Regina, Sask. operations. The pipe is produced here in Canada by Canadians and uses Canadian raw materials,” said Conrad Winkler, president and CEO of Evraz North America, in a news release.

Evraz Steel began manufacturing pipe for the project in October 2017 after being awarded the contract by Trans Mountain. Manufacturing is to continue through May 2019.

“This project is real and we are building it with Canadian workers, materials and technology,” Winkler said in the release.

“Evraz North America operations in Canada employ over 2,000 people directly and generate between six and 10 times as many indirect jobs throughout the supply chain mainly across Western Canada. We are looking forward to a resolution to this impasse and to continuing production of the most technologically advanced, clean and safe steels for pipelines and oil country tubular goods right here in North America.”

PSAC urges the Government of Canada to uphold the rule of law and our Constitution

PSAC urges the Government of Canada to uphold
the rule of law and our Constitution
Calgary, Alberta (February 5, 2018) – The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) is extremely disappointed and concerned that the Government of British Columbia has announced that it is proposing “a second phase of regulations to improve preparedness, response and recovery from potential spills” related to pipelines transporting liquid petroleum products. Over two years, stringent research and studies were conducted by the National Energy Board, the Canadian Energy Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office for the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The result of this rigorous process was to approve the expansion of Trans Mountain and to declare it to be in the national interest by the Government of Canada.

Further proposed study and regulations by the BC government can only be viewed as yet another tactic to deny to land-locked provinces, vital access to tidewater that BC freely enjoys and all while pursuing export opportunities for its own petroleum products. “This is not the time for inter-provincial trade wars as we pursue free trade agreements with the US and Asian countries,” says Mark Salkeld, President & CEO of PSAC. “Now is the time for the Government of Canada to uphold Canadian rule of law and our constitution.”

“Investment capital is already fleeing Canada due to competitive concerns. Lack of certainty for major project development and infrastructure will not help but only serve to drive away even more potential investment and with it Canadian jobs and economic prosperity,” continued Mark Salkeld.

The oil and natural gas industry is the leading contributor of private capital investment in this country supporting over 640,000 jobs across the country and thousands of businesses, including over 700 in BC. The industry’s responsible development of our natural resources also provides the funds for technical innovation, research and development and clean-tech to improve environmental performance and reduce GHG emissions.

Canada is already losing billions of dollars a year having only the US as its one customer for oil and natural gas negatively affecting job creation and funding for health care and education while the US moves to become a leading exporter, reaping benefits that could be ours.

“Pipelines are the safest way to transport our energy which supplies us with the fuel we need for our vehicles, planes and transport for our food and other products; the fuel that provides us with our quality of life that so many take for granted and that those in developing countries who live in energy poverty can only dream of,” says Scott Van Vliet, Chair of PSAC and CEO of Environmental Refuelling Systems Inc.  “We may want to move to renewable energy but it will take years and right now we need all forms of energy. Canada has one of the most robust regulatory regimes in the world with leading environmental standards. Canadians should be proud to supply the world with our responsibly developed oil and natural gas for a better quality of life.”

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry. As the voice of Canada’s petroleum service, supply and manufacturing sector, PSAC advocates for its members to enable the continued innovation, technological advancement and in-the-field experience they supply to Canada’s energy explorers and producers, helping to increase efficiency, improve safety and protect the environment.

– 30 –
PSAC Media Contact:
Mark Salkeld
President & CEO
Phone: 403.264.4195

Why pipelines matter to SK: $320 million in missed royalties plus billions in capital spending per year!

The difference between what western Canada is getting for our oil and could be getting, is; vast, caused by pipeline constraints, and is costing Saskatchewan $320 million in missed royalties per year and reasonably $-billions in capital spending per year.

WTI crude is trading at $65 US per barrel today, while Western Canada Select (WCS) is trading at $35 (see charts below).  WTI is the often quoted price in the news and is largely the USA price – however, most Canadian crude is priced as WCS.  Brent crude is generally the price of oil shipped by tankers around the world – Brent is at $68 per barrel today.

WCS prices at a discount to WTI because it is a lower quality crude and because of a transportation differential. The price of WCS is currently set at the U.S. Gulf Coast. It costs approximately $10 per barrel for a barrel of crude to be transported from Alberta (the major hubs) to the U.S. Gulf Coast, accounting for at least $10 per barrel of the WTI-WCS discount.

So of the current $30 differential we can account for $10 – but what about the other $20 differential?

Pipeline constraints have caused the transportation differential to rise significantly – see the CBC story below.  Heavy discounts on our crudes were attributed to crudes being “landlocked” in the U.S. Midwest due to pipeline constraints.

So, what does this cost Saskatchewan?

That is unclear, but, from the Government of Saskatchewan 2017/18 budget, “a US$1 per barrel change in the fiscal-year average WTI oil price, results in an estimated $16 million change in oil royalties.”

How the WTI/WCS pricing factors into this formula is not readily apparent, but let’s take a stab at it.

Using something I call CRAP math – which is cumulative resultant arithmetic pontification – or “back of the napkin” type of calculations – the $20 differential (from above of $30 – $10) at $16 million per barrel impact is logically approaching $320-million in missed oil royalties to the Province of Saskatchewan – every year!

More importantly, if the price we received for our oil was 57% higher – from $35/barrel up to $55/barrel ($65 WTI less $10 for shipping) – more wells would be drilled and more oil produced.  This would cause significant job increases and local spending in Saskatchewan. The economic impact measure of this is best represented by the last oil boom, with; the dramatic increase in housing values in Estevan and Weyburn over the past several years, demands for employees sky-rocketing, car-sales taking-off, etc.

And, with more oil being produced, royalties when them climb again due to a production increase being added to the price increase.

What is holding all of this back – a lack of pipelines!


WTI Pricing – $US – for the past year

WTI Feb 2 2018


Western Canada Select (WCS) Crude Pricing – $US – for the past year

WCS Feb 2 2018


Brent Crude Pricing – $US – for the past year

Brent Feb 2 2018



Crude comparisons



Pipeline bottlenecks push Canadian oil price to deepest discount in 4 years

Canadian oil selling for just $30 a barrel, even as West Texas Intermediate nears twice that price

By Pete Evans, CBC News Posted: Dec 13, 2017 2:34 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 13, 2017 3:19 PM ET


The price gap between the price of Canada’s oil benchmark versus its U.S. equivalent, West Texas Intermediate, has widened to its biggest difference in almost four years, with Canadian crude now selling at a $25 discount.

The heavy oil coming out of Alberta’s oilsands is known Western Canada Select. It usually trades at a discount to the better known U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, in part because it is more difficult to process.

But this week, the gap expanded to more than $25 US a barrel, due to transport bottlenecks on pipelines and by rail.

WTI WCS differential late 2017

Most Canadian oil is shipped down to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast to be refined into usable products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. That means Canadian producers have to compete with U.S. shale oil companies, who also sell to those same refineries and don’t have nearly the same level of transportation headaches to deal with.

TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline was shut for several weeks after a spill last month, and rival Enbridge said this week it plans to ration its capacity on a key oil pipeline between Edmonton and Wisconsin by one fifth this month.

At the same time, shipments of crude by rail are inching higher, but are still lower than they were several years ago.

The transportation bottlenecks are putting the squeeze on Canadian oil. “We have a lot of oil in the oilsands,” said Conor Bill, managing director of Mount Auburn Capital Corp., “and the problem is there aren’t a lot of ways to get that crude out of the area where it’s produced.”

The supply imbalance is especially vexing considering the price of WTI has been on a run lately, ever since an OPEC deal last month to maintain production cuts. The WTI price is up by 33 per cent since June, and a barrel of U.S. oil was changing hands at $56.81 on Wednesday.

Contrast that with a barrel of Western Canada Select, which can be had for just $31.72 US on Wednesday. That’s a gap of $25 a barrel — the widest seen since 2013, before the price of oil collapsed.

“Producers with access to international markets are earning higher receipts,” said Shane Thomson, a foreign exchange trader with Cambridge Global Solutions. “The Canadian economy is not seeing the full benefit of the increase in global prices.”

Instead of higher prices, Canadian producers are having to cut their prices to get their product to market. “You need to cut the price in order to incur the costs to ship it out of there,” Bill told the CBC’s On The Money on Tuesday.

The price gap could stick around a while longer, since transportation issues show no signs of easing any time soon.

“It will continue,” Bill said.



What’s Behind Canada’s Oil Driller Exodus?

What’s Behind Canada’s Oil Driller Exodus?

By Tsvetana Paraskova – Jan 31, 2018, 12:00 PM CST

oil processing pipe

Canadian drillers are moving rigs south to the U.S. to seize more profitable opportunities. But it’s not just the bright prospects of the Permian that is attracting Canadian companies—moving south of the border has more to do with favorable tax rates and more takeaway capacity and market access opportunities than there is in Canada.

Last week, Calgary-based AKITA Drilling said it would be expanding in the Permian and has contracted a rig with a major U.S. operator that has a significant presence in the Permian. AKITA Drilling has redeployed the rig from the Western Canadian natural gas basin, where it faced limited opportunities to work, the company said.

Another Calgary-based firm, Trinidad Drilling, said on Monday that it would be moving eight rigs to the Permian to meet increased customer demand, redeploying idle rigs from its existing global operations with weaker demand, including Canada.

Trinidad Drilling’s CEO Brent Conway told The Canadian Press in an interview that he would rather avoid the move if he could find profitable drilling work in Canada. The rigs moved to the U.S. would be crewed by U.S. workers, as Canadian crews likely won’t move with the rigs, the manager added.

“What’s happening in the U.S.? They’re lowering taxes, they’re building pipelines and they’re starting to export oil,” Conway told The Canadian Press, adding that in Canada, taxes have been raised, pipelines are not getting built, and there isn’t much regulatory certainty.

His sentiment is shared by AKITA’s chief executive Karl Ruud, who said that the U.S. offers more attractive prospects with more favorable tax rates and regulatory system.

Last November, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) said in its 2018 Drilling Forecast that it expected Canadian wells drilled this year to number 6,138, up by just 107 from 2017.

“One of the Canadian oil and gas industry’s biggest hurdles continues to be lack of market access and regulatory stability,” CAODC said.

“Market access and a predictable regulatory environment are the most significant factors in creating an environment that will allow our industry to deliver stronger results in the coming years,” CAODC President Mark Scholz said back then.

Speaking to The Canadian Press, Scholz said on Tuesday that the lack of market access continued to be one of the biggest obstacles to Canadian producers to get their barrels to market at higher prices. Western Canadian Select (WCS) is currently trailing WTI prices by a discount of more than $30 a barrel.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Enough Shipper Pledges to Proceed

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Enough Shipper Pledges to Proceed

By  Meenal Vamburkar  and  Kevin Orland

January 18, 2018, 7:18 AM CST Updated on January 18, 2018, 10:46 AM CST


Trans Mountain pipe

TransCanada Corp. has enough customer interest to go forward with the Keystone XL oil pipeline, if the company decides to build it.

The Calgary-based company now has “approximately 500,000 barrels per day of firm, 20-year commitments,” according to a statement on Thursday. The pipeline operator will continue to secure additional volumes.

The announcement marks yet another hurdle overcome for the project, first proposed in 2008. In November, TransCanada received state approval in Nebraska to construct the conduit there along an alternate route, a decision that may spur added legal action by foes who say the new path hasn’t received the same review as the original plan.

“We view the firm commitments as positive for the project,” David Galison, an analyst at Cannacord Genuity Corp., said in a note. “However, the project still has many hurdles to overcome in order for construction to begin.”

TransCanada hasn’t yet officially green-lighted the project and is still working toward a final investment decision, spokesman Terry Cunha said in an emailed statement. The company said in its statement it is working with landowners along the new path to obtain the necessary easements. Construction preparation has begun, with primary work potentially coming in 2019.

Keystone XL would be a victory for Canadian oil sands producers who are facing transportation bottlenecks getting their crude to market. The pipeline would ship 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Hardisty, Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect to TransCanada’s existing Keystone system that carries crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast hub of refineries and export terminals.

“Over the last 12 months, the Keystone XL project has achieved several milestones that move us significantly closer to constructing this critical energy infrastructure for North America,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Keystone XL drew fierce opposition from environmentalists concerned about climate change and landowners along the path in Nebraska. Former President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s application in 2015, saying that it wasn’t in the national interest. That decision was reversed by the Trump administration.

TransCanada shares were little changed on Thursday’s news, down 0.2 percent to C$59.71 at 11:28 a.m. in Toronto. The stock eked out a 1.1 percent gain in 2017.

— With assistance by Debarati Roy


Saskatchewan sees golden potential for precious metals mining and more

Saskatchewan sees golden potential for precious metals mining and more


Published on: January 8, 2018 | Last Updated: January 8, 2018 1:52 PM PST

Seabee gold

The Santoy gold deposit at the Seabee Gold Operation in northern Saskatchewan attracted Vancouver-based mining company SSR Mining, which purchased the operation in 2016. 

SSR Mining may be a Vancouver-headquartered company, but lately its attention has been firmly focused on a large stretch of land in the middle of the wilderness in northern Saskatchewan.

That’s because the mid-tier mining company with two other operations in Nevada and Argentina sees a golden opportunity in the prairie province — literally.

Its recent purchase of Saskatchewan’s only gold mining operation speaks to SSR Mining’s confidence of what lies beneath the Land of Living Skies.

The company acquired Claude Resources, and with this the Seabee Gold Operation, for approximately C$337 million, the largest single investment in precious metal mining in the province’s history.

“The previous company had operated the Seabee mine for about 25 years,” says SSR Mining’s president and chief executive officer Paul Benson. “The first 23 years were quite routine, mining lower grade deposits.”

But then exploration efforts uncovered a nearby deposit of much higher quality gold ore, and that caught the attention of SSR Mining, prompting the friendly takeover.

Today, the company is mining the higher-grade Santoy deposit, just a short trucking distance from the original Seabee mine and mill complex.

“By far the majority of the gold is in the Santoy deposit,” he says, adding the operation currently has total mineral resources of over one million ounces of gold.

Saskatchewan is a heavyweight in the mining world. Being the No. 1 producer of potash globally and No. 2 for uranium, the province has a long history of mining innovation while providing highly skilled people adept at extracting minerals from the earth.

Yet the province has largely flown under the radar when it comes to base and precious metals and other valuable minerals, including diamonds. That, however, is changing rapidly as exploration and mining companies turn their attention to the province’s bounty underground, especially after SSR Mining made its big splash last year.

“We believe we have significant unrealized potential for other mineral commodities such as base and precious metals and also diamonds,” says Gary Delaney, chief geologist at the Ministry of the Economy for the Government of Saskatchewan.

That’s in large part why the province has devoted considerable resources to help interested mining firms explore its potential.

Efforts include scanning millions of pages of historic industry technical reports and maps, as well as geoscience publications prepared by the provincial government, over several decades. All of this information is available through the government’s recently launched Mining and Petroleum GeoAtlas: “A one-stop shop to get all the technical geological information for the industry,” says Delaney.

It’s this kind of support that exploration and mining firms find helpful when looking for investment opportunities.

“Rather than reinvent the wheel, companies want to build on existing data and these resources provide an important foundation.”

“With precious metals, there have been several past gold mines in what’s known as the La Ronge Gold Belt,” Delaney says, although their size and scale have been modest by today’s standards.

Moreover, SSR Mining’s Seabee operation has produced more than 1.3 million ounces of gold since it was founded in 1991.

A little farther east, at the border with Manitoba, the Creighton/Flin Flon area hosts some  of Canada’s richest deposits of base metals — copper and zinc — which also contain significant concentrations of gold and/or silver.

“The largest of those ore bodies, the Flin Flon mine, which straddled the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, not only had significant base metal, but the Saskatchewan part of the deposit contained about 3.6 million ounces of gold,” Delaney says.

In fact, the first gold discovery in the province occurred just southwest of Creighton in 1916 near Amisk Lake. The potential bounty in the ground, however, doesn’t just include precious and base metals.

Potentially rich deposits of diamonds near Prince Albert in central Saskatchewan have attracted interest from large mining multinationals.

However, the region generating the most buzz these days has been in and around the Seabee and Santoy mines.

“It’s not just the million ounces in resources we’ve identified so far,” Benson says.

SSR Mining has teamed up with another company, Eagle Plains Resources, to explore the 34,000-hectare Fisher project south of its Santoy property.

Should their efforts bear fruit, they will benefit from an incentive program previously put in place by the province to reduce the cost of development, by offering a 10-year royalty holiday on new base and precious metal mines.

Delaney says activity thus far is merely scratching the surface (pun intended).

“We’re frequently going to places like China, actively promoting investment opportunities here,” Delaney says.

“That’s because we feel we have significant unrealized potential in base and precious metals, and we would love to see that potential realized someday soon.”


Vale closes sale of fertilizer business to Mosaic for $1.4 billion – includes Kronau project in Saskatchewan

Vale closes sale of fertilizer business to Mosaic for $1.4 billion

Cecilia Jamasmie

Jan 9, 2018

Vale mill

The sale of its fertilizer business to Mosaic is part of Vale’s strategy to cut debt and focus on its core businesses. (Image courtesy of Vale SA.)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s largest iron ore and nickel miner, has officially closed the sale of its fertilizer business to US-based Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS), the No.1 producer of phosphate fertilizer, in a deal worth about $1.4 billion, considerably less than the $2.5bn originally estimated.

The transaction, part of Vale’s strategy to cut debt and focus on its core businesses, excludes the TIPLAM port, located in Brazil’s south-eastern Santos city and which was originally included in the deal. The Minnesota-based company, however, has been granted the right to use that terminal.

Back in December 2016, when the deal was first announced, Mosaic had agreed to pay the highest amount for Vale’s stake in Peru’s Bayovar mine, the firm’s Kronau potash project in Canada and most of its phosphate assets in Brazil, including the terminal, but excluding the nitrogen and phosphate assets in Cubatão, which will be bought by Norwegian chemical company Yara for $255 million.

The sale ends Vale’s supremacy on the phosphate market in Brazil, which in turn is the planet’s fifth-biggest user of fertilizer.



Released on January 5, 2018

December’s job numbers show Saskatchewan had the second highest percentage employment growth rate among the provinces between 2007 and 2017 and added 5,000 jobs in December, starting the year from a position of strength.

There have been 62,700 jobs created over the last decade in Saskatchewan, a 12.4 per cent increase, well above the national rate of 9.8 per cent.

Among the provinces, Saskatchewan had the fifth lowest annual average unemployment rate in 2017 at 6.3 per cent.  Nationally, the annual average unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent.

There was an average of 567,600 people employed in 2017, 900 fewer than in 2016.

“There are more than 60,000 more jobs today in Saskatchewan than there were 10 years ago,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “This has been a period of exceptional growth for our province, driven by businesses large and small.  Thanks to their efforts, there are more opportunities for Saskatchewan people to build a career and contribute to our community.  With our population continuing to grow, we are beginning a second decade of growth.  For Saskatchewan, the best is yet to come.”

Other 2017 highlights include:

  • Major year-over-year gains were reported for trade, up 3,800; manufacturing, up 2,300; and professional, scientific and technical services, up 2,100 compared to 2016.
  • Youth unemployment rate was 11.8 per cent, fourth lowest among the provinces.

On a month-over-month basis, there was an increase of 5,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted) between November 2017 and December 2017.  December 2017’s unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent, down from 6.6 per cent in December 2016.


For more information, contact:

James Parker
Executive Council
Phone: 306-787-1321

​New U.S. refining demand expected to spur Canadian heavy oil demand in 2018

New U.S. refining demand expected to spur Canadian heavy oil demand in 2018

By The Canadian Press

Jan. 4, 2018

oil project

CALGARY — A new forecast from Deloitte says demand for Canadian heavy oil will likely rise this year as shrinking volumes from Mexico and Venezuela open new opportunities to sell to U.S. refineries.

The accounting and consulting firm says the demand surge will work to overcome recently steeper price discounts received by Canadian producers due to pipeline outages that have stretched tight export transportation capacity.

The report forecasts the benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil price will average about US$55 per barrel in 2018, up from US$50.84 in 2017, supported by an anticipated renewal of production limits by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

It calculates that Western Canada Select, a blend of northern Alberta bitumen and lighter oil, will average C$46.40 per barrel this year.

Deloitte says the United States is increasing its light oil production, but it is also boosting oil exports to markets such as Asia.

It says Canada’s total bitumen production may for the first time exceed three million barrels per day this year as new projects like Suncor’s Fort Hills oilsands mine and smaller expansions at steam-driven oilsands operations come on line.

“Canadian oil prices lagged behind those in the United States during 2017 largely due to increased U.S. production and possible transportation difficulties getting Canadian oil into that market,” says Andrew Botterill, Deloitte’s oil and gas leader.

“But if Canada can take advantage of declining Venezuelan and Mexican exports to the U.S. and access some of its heavy oil refining capacity, the price differential between WCS and WTI should at least be moderate compared to the historical differential.”

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