Shale oil in the northeast?

What would oil shale development look like around Arborfield? It likely would not look like these pumpjacks near Torquay. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The Aug. 10 Crown land sale for petroleum mineral rights had a surprise: over half the money spent was on oil shale leases in the Arborfield area, in east-central Saskatchewan (or northeast Saskatchewan, depending on what you consider east-central). Unlike other exploration in the region in the past, there were real dollars put up, with $2 million spent. Of particular interest, these were leases, not exploration permits.

That area borders the treeline, and is south of Tobin Lake. It is quite far from traditional oil production areas, although a previous version of Saturn Oil and Gas, with a different management team, had drilled some unsuccessful oil wells southwest of Hudson Bay several years ago.

Oil shale deposits have been known in the region for quite some time, but none have been developed to date, as oil shale, like oil sands, is a unconventional resource and generally difficult to extract.

The Ministry of Energy and Resources pointed out that this sale raised $3,124,991.  This is the most revenue raised in a petroleum and natural gas public offering for the province since December 2019, and exceeded the October sale which brought in $1,876,807. The results also came out a day after the United States Biden administration asked OPEC+ to pump more oil to combat rising fuel prices within that nation.

Oil shale leases around Arborfield and Hudson Bay, Sask. Map courtesy Ministry of Energy and Resources

Of the 63 parcels posted, 58 parcels received acceptable bids.  These bids covered 29,734.8 hectares and the average bonus bid was $105 per hectare.

Eastern Saskatchewan led the sale, bringing in $2,615,713 for 44 parcels totaling 27,150 hectares.  More than half of the revenues generated by the were from bids for 25 oil shale leases located in the east-central region of the province near Arborfield, Saskatchewan. This resulted in an average of $96 per hectare for the region.

 

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001

 

When you extract the oil shale, the 20 leases in the Estevan area accounted for 2,726 hectares posted, and 2,532 hectares purchased across 19 parcels. This brought in $615,713 for an average of $243 per hectare.

The oil shale leases saw all 25 parcels posted picked up, for a total of $2 million and one cent. The bonus bid per hectare was $81.24.

There were four parcels totalling 1,296 hectares were posted and three purchased in the Kindersley area. Those three parcels came in at 1,038 hectares, and went for a total $83,266, or $80.19 per hectare.

The Lloydminster area saw 13 parcels posted and 11 picked up for a total of $426,051. Those 11 parcels totalled 1,547 hectares of the 1,677 hectares posted. The bonus bid per hectare at Lloydminster was $275 per hectare.

The highest bonus bid was $300,778 for 130.1 hectares and was also the highest dollars per hectare received on a parcel in this offering at $2,312 per hectare. This lease was awarded to Crescent Point Energy Corp. and is prospective for oil in the Frobisher Beds of the Madison Group.

The August sale was the third of six public offerings scheduled for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

 

Editor’s Note: Is there a difference between shale oil and oil shale? Pipeline Online will explore this curious oil shale development with a series of stories and columns this week. On Tuesday, we’ll post a story from Ministry of Energy and Resources experts explaining just what oil shale is, and a possible relationship to rare earth elements.  Later, watch for a column from professional geologist Steve Halabura on the topic.

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001