I was sitting with my wife at a restaurant last week and I had a little fun with her.

“Big day next week. Do you know what it is?” I asked.

She wracked her brain, as it wasn’t our anniversary, and her birthday is at the end of the month. So what could it be? After several incorrect guesses, Michelle asked, “Is that the day you launched your website?”

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Indeed, Oct. 4 is the one-year anniversary of Pipeline Online going live. And that’s a big deal, because the common wisdom is 90 per cent of business fail, 10 per cent of which fail in their first year.

What a year it’s been.

I branded Pipeline Online as “Saskatchewan’s Energy News.” I never would have expected how important that broader spectrum would become.

The keys seen above are my daily reminder of how Trudeau killed Energy East. This promo video, shot a year ago, has never been published before, but it turns out I did was I said I was going to do. 

 

That’s because energy isn’t just oil and gas. It’s coal, and wind (or lack thereof). It’s power production and lithium. And even helium and solution potash mining are a big part, because they all use the same drilling and service rigs, and other supports, that come from the oil industry.

I never would have expected to be writing about Federated Co-operatives Limited’s intention to build carbon capture and a renewable diesel plant, using canola oil. Nor did I expect such efforts would be driven by a little-known Clean Fuel Standard. You can thank the tireless efforts of former Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre for that.

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And I have to say, there is a genuine effort from nearly everyone I’ve dealt with in Regina to actually care about energy. That includes the current Energy Minister, Jim Reiter, Premier Scott Moe, and SaskPower critic Aleana Young.

Katrina Zinchuk, left, John Gormley and Brian Zinchuk during the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show June 1, 2022. My daughter said my red company shirts make me look like a giant tomato.

 

Energy is the story

But more importantly, energy is THE STORY of our modern day. How we create it, store it, use it. How it impacts our lives, our economies, our jobs. Fourteen years ago, environmental and Indigenous concerns seemed on the margins. Now they seem like the only concerns. The pendulum is swinging.

And the war in Ukraine has focused our minds, sharply, on energy. In the past few days, two major pipelines mysteriously blew up in the Baltic Sea. Europe is concerned about freezing this winter, while their economy is going through one of the worst energy price shocks ever. That’s leading to European industries shutting down due to energy poverty.

And yet here, in the prairies, we’re going to shut down coal, maybe eventually build nukes, but in the meantime, hope that wind will save us. Except that yesterday (Sept. 28), wind power in Alberta dropped to 1 per cent output and the province declared a “grid alert.” A few days later, it dropped to 0.2 per cent.

We’ve got a federal government that has decreed a carbon tax that will hit $170/tonne, and that we won’t be able to buy new gas or diesel light vehicles past 2035. But where’s that power going to come from? How much will we need? How is our increasingly fragile grid going to be built out, reinforced and powered? These are all questions I am working on every day.

Asking the hard questions about the future of clean coal in Estevan and Coronach.

 

Someone needs to ask the hard questions. The questions CBC and CTV won’t. Like what are we going to do when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?

So was it a good time to launch a news site focusing on energy in Saskatchewan? You’re damned right, it was.

Roll credits

I need to thank several people.

I must thank my advertisers. Without them, my kids wouldn’t eat. They’ve been steadfast and supportive. Many advertise particularly because they want to support the efforts of what I’m trying to do here, and for that I’m forever grateful.

As for individuals, first off is Jason Coutu. Back in the 90s, he and I were best friends who both flunked out of university at the same time, so we went pipelining. We then tried to launch a virtual reality training simulator to teach people how to operate heavy equipment. Everyone said great idea, huge market, we won’t give you money. Twenty-odd years later, they now have several of these simulators at Southeast College.

Well, Jason went back and finished his computer science degree, then his masters degree. He’s steadily worked his way up in Saskatoon’s high-tech sector. But despite being the best father I know on the planet, involved in multiple sports, and his normal job, Jason took the time to build and support my entire website. Without him, this never could have happened.

Chris Neitling has been my sage forever. I got him into pipelining 25 years ago when I got bounced off the tailgate of a foreman’s pickup truck. Now he makes something like 10x what I do. Like Jason, we’ve been best friends for decades, and there’s very little I do without his counsel.

Similarly, Jon and Caroline Gillies in Weyburn have been steadfast in their support, usually for a shoulder to cry on. The same goes for Angela and Michael Zwaagstra of Steinbach.

My columnists have been a treasure, allowing me to slot one of them in when I was out in the field or otherwise occupied. Brian Crossman’s down-to-earth pieces have been extraordinary. His column on being a new hire should be required reading for anyone entering the oilpatch. Steve Halabura’s brought a geologist’s keen eye to new plays and ventures – which could be considered the theme of this past year.

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  • 0033 Buffalo Potash Jared Small Footprint
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
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  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
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David Yager’s still the best writer in the oilpatch, period. Peter Linder’s musings of an ex-oil and gas analyst have provided insight into corporate dealings.

Douglas Tompson told us to be good to the cook, because you never know when they might become the boss.

Murray Lyons, who gave me my very first newspaper job that did not involve delivering them, has shown insight from the nuclear industry, something that will be of ever-increasing importance in this province.

I met Tracy Klotz and Kurt Price in three dimensions for the first time at the recent Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show. We hit it off so well, it was like we’ve known each other for years.

Similarly, I finally got to shake Quick Dick McDick’s (Dickson Delorme’s) hand at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in Weyburn back in June. Again, it seemed like we’ve known each other for years.

Jim Warren is a rare thing at the University of Regina – a professor that doesn’t lean so far to the left that he might fall over.

Finally, even former Premier Brad Wall has from time-to-time made the effort to grace this site with op-ed pieces. Carrying that has been a huge honour.

John Gormley on CJME/CKOM has been kind enough to have me on his show on a monthly basis. The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, run by Peter Holle, has recently starting carrying some of my pieces.

Kate Winquist of Your West Central Voice has been kindly running Pipeline Online stories on her pages.

My professional team consists of John Billesberger, my lawyer who made incorporation seem easy. Carol Sylvestre is my accountant extraordinaire. Jackie Beaulieau’s been my wonderful banker at the TD, and her team are all great. My right hand in financial dealings is Brandy Cullen of SE Bookkeeping Services, without whom I would have about three hairs left on my head and at least two more heart attacks.

Brant Kersey, Richard Saddick, and Peter Ng provided wisdom and encouragement in launching this thing. Fay Bonthoux helped out with some of the initial ad building.

The financial support of my parents – Phyllis and Brad Stroud, and Lorne Zinchuk, is what got this thing off the ground in the first place. They’ve also provided the needed shoulder to cry on at times.

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  • 0036 Prairie Lithium - Chad Glemser 30 Sec
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  • 0033 Buffalo Potash Jared Small Footprint
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
  • 0027 TED_NA Helium 2021_30
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
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  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
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My kids have been wrangled in as well. Katrina got dragged out of school to be camera operator at the oil show, and Spencer did the same when Pierre Poilievre came to Estevan. Both got saddled with doing bank runs. Katrina poured through analysis of the first 1,200 followers on LinkedIn, and will soon be doing the next 800. Spencer now posts a lot of the Canadian Press content which helps provide national and international content. We’re like a Chinese restaurant, you see. Everyone works.

Finally, my wife, Michelle, has been there through thick and thin. She’s put up with me working until 2 a.m. on a regular basis, heading out of town for conferences, and keeping us fed through the very lean times of being a startup. She is my rock.

I would like to thank you, the reader. Thank you for taking notice. Thank you for sharing or commenting. It really does help. And thank you for supporting the only media source that truly gives a damn about the Saskatchewan energy sector.

Brian Zinchuk,

Editor and Owner,

Pipeline Online

 

  • 0037 TED_DEEP_30_
  • 0036 Prairie Lithium - Chad Glemser 30 Sec
  • 0035 TED - Whitecap
  • 0034 TED_NA Helium 2021
  • 0033 Buffalo Potash Jared Small Footprint
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
  • 0027 TED_NA Helium 2021_30
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002