Tundra Oil & Gas is continually drilling between Sinclair and Cromer, as seen here on June 16, 2023. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The James Richardson & Sons, Limited group of companies celebrated 19 years of Manitoba’s most significant oilfield.

The company posted on LinkedIn on Sept. 19:

It was a one-in-a-million discovery.

Tundra Oil & Gas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of James Richardson & Sons, Limited, drilled down on its geological operations in the southwestern corner of Manitoba between 2002-2004, following a hunch that there was undiscovered oil to be found near the Saskatchewan border.

Without a large “play” in Manitoba, it was believed the best anyone would find was small oil deposits. Instead, Tundra beat the odds and struck a gusher – discovering the largest crude oil reservoir in Manitoba in four decades.

Because of the reservoir’s proximity to the tiny hamlet of Sinclair, Manitoba (population: 30-ish), it was dubbed the Sinclair Field – and because many area residents retained surface and mineral rights on land hosting producing oil wells, many of those farmers became millionaires.

Today, 19 years after it was discovered, the Sinclair field is still producing and is considered a long-term play for Tundra Oil & Gas. The company remains the largest oil producer in the province, and continues its focused approach to exploration and development in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan.

As a privately-held company, James Richardson & Sons rarely says much in the public sphere. Thus, even saying this much is out of the ordinary.

Tundra has been operating a carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery test project in the field for 15 years now, trucking in CO2 to inject. The highway between Sinclair and Cromer, Manitoba, is lined with rows of tightly spaced but small pumpjacks. The size of the pumpjacks is a reflection on the reduced depth of the field, near the edge of the Williston Basin.

 

The pumpjacks might be small, but there sure are a lot of them in the Sinclair field. This is south of Cromer, Manitoba. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The continued activity in this field has strongly benefitted Virden, Manitoba, host of most of the service companies working there. However, oilfield services based in Melita, Moosomin, Redvers, Carlyle, Carnduff and Estevan have also done substantial work in the Sinclair field.

The Sinclair field also benefits from surrounding Enbridge’s Cromer terminal, a major mainline terminal which is where all southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba oil shipped by pipe is able to join mainline and U.S. market downstream.

 

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