By Craig Baird
Saskatchewan is quickly emerging as an oil and gas leader, not only in Canada but the world. In Canada, only Alberta has a larger oil and gas industry and roughly 13 per cent of our $45.922 billion GDP comes from the energy sector.
When the energy sector does well in Saskatchewan, the province does well. The good news is, the energy sector is doing very well in Saskatchewan and we should all be happy that the good times are continuing to roll for the province and its residents.
“It has been a great year. This past year, we set an all-time record on the oil production side. We produced more oil in 2012 than any previous year,” MLA Tim McMillan, Minister Responsible for Energy and Resources, said. “We also set a record on horizontal wells. We have seen a great transition to horizontal wells.”
According to MLA McMillan, Saskatchewan emerges as a stronger oil exporter with each passing year.
“We have seen our refining capacity increase in the past year as well,” MLA McMillan said. “With the record amount of production last year, the bulk of that oil does find markets outside of our province.”
Oil production is heating up across Saskatchewan, but there is great diversity with each area of the province lending its own unique piece to the energy puzzle.
“We have a province with great diversity. By the increases, the southeast has become very buoyant the past few years thanks to franking and unlocking the formation we have known about for decades,” MLA McMillan said. “On the west side of our province, the heavy oils make up half our oil production. On the gas side, we have seen fairly stable prices in the three to four dollar range. That hasn’t spurred as much activity compared to the oil side, but we have a great resource in natural gas.”
MLA McMillan sees a continued focus on horizontal wells.
“We will see a utilization of a technology which will increase in importance. We are going to see similar challenges. We are seeing more oil transported by rail,” MLA McMillan said. “Certainly, it has a nimbleness to get product to market in a timely manner. With oil over $100 per barrel, that keeps the economics very positive for expansion.”
For their part, the Saskatchewan government is working hard to bring stability to the market for the long-term.
“Our premier has spoken about it. I have spoken about it. Investments have been made in our oil and gas industry that are not short-term. We want Saskatchewan to be seen as a consistent province,” MLA McMillan said. “On a specific level, the work on the PTRC, we are seeing that the knowledge around that is increasing. We are collecting carbon right here in the province and that will open up more options.”
Article Compliments of The Gull Lake Advance