The southeast Saskatchewan oil patch experienced another busy year in 2012. While the price of oil didn't reach the projections of some economists, it still hovered around $85 to $90 per barrel for most of the year. Local oilfield companies had a lot of activity. There were also a number of memorable events and moments. Here are some of the highlights:
Southeast leads in land sales: Figures released by the provincial government in December indicate that the final total for land sales for 2012 was $105.7 million. The Estevan-Weyburn area was once again the pace-setter, as it generated the most revenue in five of the six sales, and it brought in a total of $48.4 million in revenue throughout the year. The most lucrative sale came in February, as it generated $28.7 million. The December land sale featured oil sands special exploration permits in northern Saskatchewan.
OTS events: The Estevan Oilfield Technical Society hosted a pair of sports events in 2012. The first was their annual curling bonspiel in March, which brought an end to the 2012 curling season in Estevan.
The other was the Oilmen's Golf Tournament in June. The event returned after a one-year hiatus due to the flood of 2011. The tournament used both the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course, and the Hideout Golf Course at the Hidden Valley Golf and RV Resort. Scott Blackstock won the tournament for the 16th.time.
A Ladies OTS tournament was held in July, marking the return of that event after it was cancelled in 2011 due to flooding.
Aquistore moves forward: The Petroleum Technology Research Centre's Aquistore project was in the spotlight on several occasions in 2012. The public was able to learn more about the project during an open house in April. Two milestones came in the summer: they started the process of drilling their first injection and evaluation well, they began rig construction on the Aquistore site. They drilled Saskatchewan's deepest well in the fall.
Aquistore's mandate is to demonstrate that storing carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground is a safe and workable solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project will gain baseline research information, and evaluate and establish the process as safe, reliable and predictable prior to commercial use. The PTRC is working closely with SaskPower's carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam Power Station.
Redvers Oil Showcase the biggest yet: The fourth edition of the Redvers and District Oil Showcase was the biggest yet, as it attracted a total of 137 booths between its indoor and outdoor exhibitors. About 1,500 people attended the event during its two days. The showcase featured some of the newest technology available in the oil patch. There were several speakers as well, including Painted Pony president and CEO Patrick Ward, who gave the keynote speech at a banquet.
Deal with SaskEnergy and CanElson: CanElson Drilling announced in September that its wholly owned subsidiary, CanGas Solutions has signed a three-year natural gas delivery agreement with the Bayhurst Energy Services Corporation (BESCO), a subsidiary of SaskEnergy. Under the agreement, SaskEnergy will develop a high-capacity compressed natural gas (CNG) facility near Weyburn, allowing CanGas to become the first commercial supplier in Western Canada of trucked CNG for diesel engines on oil and gas drilling rigs.
Short-line railroad grand opening: The Long Creek Railroad (LCRR), which operates as a 66-kilometre short-line rail line from Estevan to Tribute, opened in August and celebrated its grand opening in October. Almost all of their business in the first few months was crude oil. The LCRR expects that oil will continue to account for as much as 75 per cent of their business. An oil transloading facility has been constructed in the Southall area. Two full-time employees and two part-time employees currently work for the organization.