At the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show on June 1, Premier Scott Moe had a chance to talk to some kids. A few weeks later he was meeting with energy industry participants in a no-agenda meeting, asking their thoughts. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

SASKATOON – Every so often the Saskatchewan government employs former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to conduct a series of industry consultations. June 16 was such a day, with four different groups meeting with Premier Scott Moe and a number of provincial ministers in Saskatoon to discuss their concerns. Energy representatives were among them.

Moe spoke to Pipeline Online by phone on June 16 at the conclusion of the fourth session.

Indeed, one person who was invited to attend told Pipeline Online they initially weren’t sure it was the real deal when they got the invitation. But the government did indeed want to hear what they had to say. “You know, maybe we’re different. But we do want to know what Saskatchewan people are thinking,” Moe said.

He noted they had small to medium sized businesses as well as some large businesses as well. “They’re in many cases providing employment and creating employment in in communities from corner to corner in this province,” he said. “This is really part of the recipe for success and in our province. If these industries, our natural resource-based industries, are able to flourish and to expand, we quite often end up with more employment opportunities and are really able to drive our growth agenda here in the province.”

“This is one of the opportunities we have with our relationship with the former prime minister, Stephen Harper, and Harper and Associates. From time to time, we’ll sit down with various industry groups and just have a discussion with no agenda,” Moe said. He noted Harper brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from his time in government.

The first two sessions were focused on agriculture and mining. The next two were on energy community. Moe said there were large producers, relatively smaller producers, and oilfield services.

ESG impact

Moe said they heard about how ESG (environment, social, governance) police is having an impact, particularly in Canada. “Other areas of the world, yes, are having conversations about ESG policy, but they continue to not only utilize the oil resource they have, but in many cases, they are expanding their oil production as well. And we should be looking at the same in Saskatchewan, in particular, due to the fact that we have some of the most sustainable energy that you can find anywhere on Earth.

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“In fact, if the rest of the world groups and loyal like we do is in Saskatchewan, global emissions from oil production would drop 25 per cent overnight. And so, we most certainly have done our part.”

He said there were discussions around opportunities for Saskathcewan to gain recognition for the investments in innovation and technology and cleaner production that are that are already in place, and what that those types of opportunities would be.

“Ultimately, what we heard as a government was a great deal of appreciation, encouragement to continue engaging with the world and telling this Saskatchewan story of not only the high quality, cost-competitive products we have, but the sustainable products that we have and that we are offering to the world and most notably, the United States of America, our largest trading partner.

“And so there was encouragement to continue with that engagement, whether it be through our trade offices, whether it be through missions of officials or actual politicians on the ground, in these in these markets that are of interest to the industries that are creating wealth and communities right across Saskatchewan.”

Increasing oil production by a third

The Moe government’s Saskatchewan Growth Plan aims for production of 600,000 barrels of oil day by 2030, up by about a third from the roughly 450,000 barrels per day we currently produce. Asked if that came up in the discussion, Moe said, “Yeah, not specific to the 600,000, but the opportunity that Saskatchewan has to increase our oil production. And I think we can go at least to 600,000. We need to have some very serious discussions on how we can get that oil to market through projects like KXL (Keystone XL pipeline), through the Line 3 expansion does occur.

“I think that 600,000 is not only a realistic possibility, I think there’s opportunities for us to have discussions about going beyond that, and really pushing the conversation around energy security, not just here in Canada, but North American energy security, and ensuring that our continent is not only food secure.”

He pointed out how the European Union has become vulnerable in its energy security, a reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine and its implications in the energy trade.

Washington trade mission

A week before, Moe and newly-minted Minister of Justice Bronwyn Eyre were in Washington, talking to senators and representatives. Asked how that went, Moe said they had specific engagement items on different products, with oil being one of them. Senators Joe Manchin, Lindsay Graham and Congressman James Clyburn were among the politicians they met.

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“The message we brought is we have a model that works, when we talk about food security and energy security,” Moe said, speaking of an integrated supply chain. “For example, us, in Saskatchewan, who are great food producers, we buy big red tractors from Fargo, North Dakota. We bring those up, yoke them to a Canadian-built air drill. Then we go down to East Moline, Illinois. We grab a big green combine and bring that up to harvest our crops. We turn around we send our oats, for example, down to Iowa to Quaker Oats, employing Americans and processing those oats, putting them in a package and sending them to Americans, providing food security for North Americans, but also sending them overseas and providing that in global food security as well. That integrated model most certainly will work to provide us with North American energy security as well,” he said.

He stressed the need to get past these very political politicized conversations that are stopping that integrated infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. “We need to buy more carbon, quite likely out of a place like the gasification plant in North Dakota, bring it to Canada to expand our oil production and, using enhanced oil recovery, ultimately, then providing that what is some of the most sustainable oil produced in the world.”

He referenced Whitecap Resources’ usage of carbon dioxide from Dakota Gasification in Beulah, North Dakota. The contract for that supply is up in 2026, according to Whitecap CEO Grant Fagerheim. One of the issues is an American incentive for carbon dioxide used in enhanced oil recovery or in geologic storage. That incentive is known as “45Q.”

Moe said they met with a number of congressmen and senators from North Dakota, and discussed 45Q. “A very low-hanging fruit is to sell more carbon to a company like Whitecap, and many others, that are operating in that field as well,” he said.

From those discussions, Moe said, “They were receptive to the fact that just some small changes here could provide a win for sequestering more carbon, which is a good thing for everyone, but also a plus, in the case of providing more oil, thereby providing more energy security to the United States of America.”

He said a bill coming to the House this summer might include substantive changes to 45Q that would be a win for the environment, energy production and North American energy security.

 

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  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0024 Southern Bolt Katrina Southern Folk Rock Intro
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
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  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
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  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
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Whitecap Resources’ big CO2 plans, according to Grant Fagerheim, Saskatchewan Oil Person of the Year