Crown land sales lag in the Southwest
While the province is on pace to set a new record in crude oil production, interest in the Southwest during Saskatchewan’s Crown petroleum and natural gas rights land sales has been slowing.
During the December land sale, only $122,697 was generated in the Southwest during a sale where $13.9 million was generated province wide. The Weyburn/Estevan area again led the province with $7.5 million in activity, followed by the Lloydminster area at $5.1 million, while $1.2 million was spent in the Kindersley/Kerrobert region.
December’s sale totals were also the lowest of the year in the Southwest, marginally lower than the $139,326 from the June 2013 sale, and lagging behind other sales which ranged from $1 million to $1.3 million.
This year was overall a quiet one for the Southwest, with only $4.75 million in activity generated during the land sales. By failing to crack the $5 million mark, 2013 ranks as the lowest total since before 1995 and the lowest yearly total dating back to 2000 when $5.55 million of activity was generated in this corner of the province.
Provincially the $67.4 million in activity is in the proximity of the previous recent slow years of 2000 ($48.34 million), 1999 ($45.6 million) and 1998 ($53.95 million).
Saskatchewan’s land sales interest continues to be driven by the Weyburn/Estevan region where just over $40 million in interest has been shown, accounting for approximately 60 per cent of the $67.4 million generated across the province this year. The second hottest area of interest is the Lloydminister area with $16.2 million in activity.
The oil and gas industry in the province remains riding high following the record 2008 where $1.12 billion in Crown petroleum and natural gas dispositions were purchased.
The province is highlighting that Saskatchewan’s policies are making it easy for companies to do business in the province.
“Saskatchewan is now ranked as the number one jurisdiction in Canada for oil and gas investment policies according Fraser Institute’s annual Global Petroleum Survey,” Energy and Resources Minister Tim McMillan stated in a press release highlighting the December land sales totals. “This vote of confidence from the industry shows that our government is taking the right steps to ensure Saskatchewan remains competitive not only in Canada but globally as well.”
McMillan points to programs such as the Process Renewal and Infrastructure Management Enhancement (PRIME) program, intended to modernize the ministry’s oil and gas business processes and computer systems, sends a strong signal to industry that the province intends to remain one of the best places to invest. Last year, PRIME successfully integrated Saskatchewan’s volumetric reporting into Petrinex, Canada’s petroleum information network, and has turned its attention to renewing processes and systems related to wells, facilities and petroleum tenure, which includes the land sale and instrument registry.