Daily Well Bulletin

May 19, 2015 Daily Well Bulletin and Weekly Summary of Total Wells Drilled. Well bulletins are generated when a new licence is issued or an existing licence is amended.

TORQ Transloading to construct CA$100 million crude-by-rail terminal in Saskatchewan Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on email Share on print More Sharing Services 0 TORQ Transloading Inc. (TORQ) is planning the development of a large scale

TORQ Transloading to construct CA$100 million crude-by-rail terminal in Saskatchewan

TORQ Transloading Inc. (TORQ) is planning the development of a large scale unit train, crude-by-rail terminal in Kerrobert, SK, Canada. TORQ is negotiating multiple pipeline connections to accommodate delivery of both light and heavy crudes to the Kerrobert Rail Terminal, which be served by Canadian Pacific.

The Kerrobert Rail Terminal is engineered to handle two, 120-car unit trains per day and is expected to cost CA$100 million (US$97 million). The terminal is also being designed to handle truck delivered volumes. It has been designed to accept inbound, rail back-hauled condensate and is expected to commence operations in Q3 2014.

TORQ CEO Jarrett Zielinski said, "In the location selection process for the Kerrobert Rail Terminal, we took the scale-at-hub approach. We feel that Kerrobert is strategic in that it allows maximum diversity and flexibility for crude-by-rail out of western Canada. It is as far south and east geographically in Canada that allows us to not only access vast amounts of pipeline delivered crude oil, but also it allows us to access significant quantities of heavy, undiluted crudes in the Lloydminster-Kerrobert corridor."

TORQ is a privately-held midstream oilfield service provider that currently operates six crude-by-rail transload terminals across Alberta and Saskatchewan. TORQ operates on behalf of Canadian Pacific at Tilley, AB, and Lloydminster, SK, and for Canadian National at Whitecourt, AB. TORQ has operations in the Shaunavon, SK, Unity, SK, and Bromhead, SK, areas.

TransCanada to proceed with 1.1 million barrel/day Energy East Pipeline project to Saint John Monday, Aug 05, 2013 TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) (TransCanada) is pleased to announce it is moving forward with the 1.1 million barrel per day

TransCanada to proceed with 1.1 million barrel/day Energy East Pipeline project to Saint John

Monday, Aug 05, 2013

TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) (TransCanada) is pleased to announce it is moving forward with the 1.1 million barrel per day (bbl/d) Energy East Pipeline project based on binding, long-term contracts received from producers and refiners. The conclusion of the successful open season confirmed strong market support for a pipeline with approximately 900,000 bbl/d of firm, long-term contracts to transport crude oil from Western Canada to Eastern Canadian refineries and export terminals.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the open season for the Energy East Pipeline held earlier this year and are excited to move forward with a major project that will bring many benefits across Canada," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "This is an historic opportunity to connect the oil resources of western Canada to the consumers of eastern Canada, creating jobs, tax revenue and energy security for all Canadians for decades to come."

Girling added that interest in Energy East supports refineries' desire to have access to a stable and reliable supply of Western Canadian crude oil - pushing out more expensive crude oil from foreign regimes. Eastern Canada currently imports approximately 700,000 bbl/d. It also confirms the desire producers have to support safe and innovative ways to get their crude oil to market.

"Energy East is one solution for transporting crude oil but the industry also requires additional pipelines such as Keystone XL to transport growing supplies of Canadian and U.S. crude oil to existing North American markets," added Girling. "Both pipelines are required to meet the need for safe and reliable pipeline infrastructure and are underpinned with binding, long-term agreements."

The project is expected to cost approximately $12 billion, excluding the transfer value of Canadian Mainline natural gas assets. The Energy East Pipeline will have a capacity of approximately 1.1 million bbl/d and is anticipated to be in service by late-2017 for deliveries in Québec and 2018 for deliveries to New Brunswick.

The Energy East Pipeline project involves converting a portion of natural gas pipeline capacity in approximately 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) of TransCanada's existing Canadian Mainline to crude oil service and constructing approximately 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) of new pipeline.

The pipeline will transport crude oil from receipt points in Alberta and Saskatchewan to delivery points in Montréal, the Québec City region and Saint John, New Brunswick, greatly enhancing producer access to Eastern Canadian and international markets. The pipeline will terminate at Canaport in Saint John, New Brunswick where TransCanada and Irving Oil have formed a joint venture to build, own and operate a new deep water marine terminal.

While Energy East will use a portion of Canadian Mainline capacity, TransCanada is committed to continuing to meet the needs of its gas customers in eastern Canada and the N.E. United States.

Our 60 years of pipeline experience has taught us that to advance a project of this size, we must engage in open and meaningful discussions with Aboriginal communities and key stakeholder groups. TransCanada has been out in the field collecting data and engaging with Aboriginal and stakeholder groups for the past several months as part of its initial design and planning work for the project and that will continue.

"TransCanada is a leading North American energy infrastructure company with one of the best safety records in the industry and that is something we are very proud of," concluded Girling. "Energy East will be designed and operated with a singular focus on safety - that is what Canadians expect and that is what TransCanada will deliver. We all recognize that oil is essential in our daily lives. We need it to heat our homes, operate our vehicles and make thousands of products we rely on every day. What we must do is ensure the oil is transported safely and reliably."

Source: TransCanada

Reaction Oilfield Supply fills retail void in Oxbow

Reaction Oilfield Supply is a new business operating in Oxbow. It’s the first Saskatchewan branch of the Nisku, Alberta-based retail store.

Located on Galloway Drive in the former C.E. Franklin building, Reaction opened for business July 6. Mike Gunderman, Saskatchewan Regional Manager for Reaction Oilfield Supply, wants the store to not only fill the void C.E. Franklin’s exit from town left behind, he wants to grow the business in order to meet expanding customer needs.

“We call it oilfield supply, but really it’s industrial supply,” said Mike. “A lot of it is geared toward the oilfield industry with pipefittings, valves and that sort of stuff. But I always sell it as anything from rags and paper towel to rig parts and pump jacks. We’ll put a little hardware into the mix if we have to; we’ll just react to whatever we have to.”

Gunderman’s 23 years of experience in the oilfield supply business combined with the growing oilfield presence in southeast Saskatchewan made opening an oilfield supply store in Oxbow a no-brainer. The opportunity to do so presented itself through mutual friends.

“I had an intention right from the start to put something back in here,” Mike explained. “The landlord who owns the building wanted a retail business in here for the town, so between the two of us we knew that something would be coming in, whether it would be strictly a hardware [store] or strictly a supply store. Hooking up with the Reaction group allows me to just be my own boss so I can go whichever way we have to go with it.”

Gunderman holds a strong belief that customers will drive Reaction’s stock. Ask, and he’ll bring it in, he said.

“We carry many products - janitorial supplies, commercial-type cleaning products, right down to chlorine for the farmers’ wells for shocking the water in their wells. There is nothing we can’t get. It’s more like ‘What don’t you sell?’ Well, we don’t sell elephants, there are laws against that,” Gunderman jokes.

Local support has been great so far, as Gunderman reports people are excited to see something new and something different – which is essential in order for this venture to succeed.

“In a perfect world, I’d like to see five people [working] here by the end of the year,” said Mike. “And, hopefully with the feedback from customers, we’ll get more product in and have a wider offering.”

Study finds no CO2 leaking from oilfield work

Scientists contracted by Cenovus Energy Inc. have found carbon dioxide injected to the company's oilfield in Weyburn, Sask., is staying put deep underground.

The Calgary-based oil company told the Saskatchewan government it would find out whether gas from its operations was leaking onto a nearby property and hired several third-party specialists to conduct an assessment.

"These results provide complete assurance to landowners and the public that the CO2 we're injecting about 1.5 kilometres below the ground is staying put and that our Weyburn operation is safe," said company vice-president Brad Small.

The findings of a separate independent study — by the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide — are set to be released in about two weeks in Regina.

Cenovus pumps CO2 into the mature Weyburn field in order to boost production, as well as to store the climate-change causing gas underground rather than have it escape into the atmosphere. It operates the unit on behalf of 23 other partners.

"Our findings indicate that there is absolutely no way CO2 in the soil at the property in question originated from Cenovus' operation in Weyburn," said Court Sandau, the lead scientist of the assessment.

Sandau, the founder of ChemistryMatters, said scientists can tell the difference between "old" and "new" CO2. The gas Cenovus pumps underground is from coal deposits formed millions of years ago.

"Our findings assert that the CO2 present at the property was formed recently and is attributed to natural soil respiration processes."

The property owners, Cameron and Jane Kerr, have said that, beginning in 2005, they noticed algae blooms, clots of foam and multicoloured scum in two ponds at the bottom of a gravel quarry on their land. They also said that small animals were regularly found dead a few metres away.

Alberta Star to Participate in Drilling Another Well at Landrose, Saskatchewan

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Nov 17, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Alberta Star Development Corp. CA:ASX 0.00% ASXSF -3.39% (frankfurt:QLD) (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has agreed to participate in drilling and completing one (0.5 net) well (the "Well") located on the Company's Landrose property located in west central Saskatchewan. The Company holds a 50% net interest in the lands.

The costs to drill, complete and equip the Well are estimated to be $420,000, which the Company intends to fund its 50% interest by contributing all of its interest (50% net interest) in certain oilfield equipment with a deemed value of $60,000 to equip the Well and $150,000 cash.

Western Plains Petroleum is operator and the spud date for the Well expected to be on or about November 20, 2011, subject to rig availability and regulatory approvals.


The Company is a Canadian resource exploration and development company that identifies, acquires and finances oil and natural gas assets in Western Canada and advanced stage mineral exploration projects in North America. The Company has expanded its diversification into the oil and natural gas resource sector with the acquisition of revenue producing oil & gas resource assets which compliments its existing, advanced stage mining interests. The Company is a junior heavy oil producer that is focusing on growing its production base and maximizing future production through its exploration drilling activities, production acquisitions and strategic asset acquisition both domestically and in the international arena. The Company's strong balance sheet is expected to enable the Company to continue to increase its production base in the oil and gas sector.


Investors are welcomed to contact Mario Drolet MI 3 Communications Financiers Inc. at (514) 346-3813, the Company's Investor Relations specialists for all corporate updates, and investor inquiries.

Reader Advisory

Certain information in this Press Release is forward-looking within the meaning of certain securities legislation, and is subject to important risks, uncertainties and assumptions. This forward-looking information includes, among other things, information with respect to the Company's beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions, including the completion and success of future development activities, the performance of new wells, general economic conditions, availability of required equipment and services and prevailing commodity prices. The words "may", "could", "should", "would", "suspect", "outlook", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "plan", "target" and similar words and expressions are used to identify forward-looking information. The forward-looking information in this Press Release describes the Company's expectations as of the date of this Press Release.

Material factors which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from such forward-looking information include, among others, risks arising from general economic conditions and adverse industry events, risks arising from operations generally, changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects or capital expenditures; the uncertainty of reserve estimates; the uncertainty of estimates and projections relating to production, costs and expenses, and health, safety and environmental risks, commodity price and exchange rate fluctuations; reliance on contractual rights such as licenses and leases in the conduct of its business, reliance on third parties, reliance on key personnel, possible failure of the business model or business plan or the inability to implement the business model or business plan as planned, competition, environmental matters, and insurance or lack thereof and the other factors described under "Risk Factors" in the Company's annual reports and Form 20-F available in Canada at , as well as on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned that this list of risk factors should not be construed as exhaustive.

The Company cautions that the foregoing list of material factors is not exhaustive, is subject to change and there can be no assurance that such assumptions will reflect the actual outcome of such items or factors. When relying on the Company's forward-looking information to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. It has also assumed that the material factors referred to in the previous paragraph will not cause such forward-looking information to differ materially from actual results or events. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as the term is defined in the Policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Phoenix Oilfield Hauling Inc Announces Recapitalization Transaction & Private Placement to Mgmt.

Phoenix Oilfield Hauling Inc. Announces Recapitalization Transaction and Private Placement to Management



Phoenix Oilfield Hauling Inc. ("Phoenix" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:PHN) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Werklund Capital Corporation ("WCC"), a related party of Phoenix, with respect to a non-brokered private placement to WCC of (i) 38,500,000 common shares in the capital of the Company ("Common Shares") at a price of $0.08 per Common Share and (ii) secured convertible debentures ("Convertible Debentures") in the principal amount of $4,620,000, for combined gross proceeds of $7,700,000 (the "Recapitalization Transaction"). Phoenix has formed a special committee of the board of directors (the "Special Committee") for the purpose of reviewing the proposed Recapitalization Transaction. The Special Committee has retained Raymond James Ltd. as its financial advisor. The Convertible Debentures will have a term of three (3) years, will bear interest at a rate of 4% per annum, payable quarterly in arrears, and will be convertible into Common Shares at a price of $0.085 per Common Share. The Convertible Debentures will be secured by way of a general security interest against all present and after acquired property of the Company and will be subordinate to the interests of the Company's senior lenders. The Common Shares and Convertible Debentures issued pursuant to the Recapitalization Transaction will be subject to a four (4) month hold period in accordance with applicable Canadian securities laws. WCC will receive a work fee of $115,500 in connection with the Recapitalization Transaction. WCC is a related party of Phoenix because David Werklund, the principal of WCC, is a director and interim officer of Phoenix, and Blake Lyon, an officer of WCC, is a director of Phoenix. WCC is also a major shareholder of Phoenix. The closing of the Transaction is expected to occur in December, 2011. Assuming completion of the Recapitalization Transaction on the terms described above and the Management Private Placement (as described below), WCC will own or control 107,720,434 Common Shares or 49.2% of the outstanding Common Shares, and assuming the conversion of the Convertible Debentures in full, WCC will own or control 162,073,375 Common Shares or 59.3% of the outstanding Common Shares. Use of Proceeds The proceeds of the Recapitalization Transaction will be used by the Company to re-pay amounts owing under the previously announced credit facility obtained from WCC, to expand Phoenix's U.S. operations and for general working capital purposes. Management Private Placement Phoenix is also pleased to announce a private placement of up to 7,500,000 Common Shares at a price of $0.08 per Common Share to certain members of management (the "Management Private Placement"), for gross proceeds of up to $600,000, which is expected to close concurrently with the Recapitalization Transaction. The proceeds from the Management Private Placement will be used for general working capital purposes. Approvals The Recapitalization Transaction and Management Private Placement are subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange. The Recapitalization Transaction is also subject to corporate approvals of both Phoenix and WCC, including the receipt of disinterested shareholder approval for Phoenix. About Phoenix Oilfield Hauling Inc. Phoenix is a public energy services transportation corporation operating in Western Canada, Texas and Pennsylvania. Reader Advisory This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including the terms of the Recapitalization Transaction, the use of proceeds from the Recapitalization Transaction and Management Private Placement and the receipt of regulatory approval for the Recapitalization Transaction and Management Private Placement and the receipt of corporate approvals for the Recapitalization Transaction. These forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions of the management of the Company. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of such information may prove to be incorrect. All such forward looking statements involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the Company's control. Such risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks associated with loss of markets, volatility of commodity prices, fluctuations in foreign exchange or interest rates, environmental risks, competition from other companies, ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, the impact of general economic conditions in Canada, the United States and overseas, industry conditions, changes in laws and regulations (including the adoption of new environmental laws and regulations) and changes in how they are interpreted and enforced, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, stock market volatility and market valuations of companies with respect to announced transactions and the final valuations thereof, and obtaining required approvals of regulatory authorities. The Company's actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements and, accordingly, no assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or if any of them do so, what benefits, including the amount of proceeds, that the Company will derive therefrom. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as at the date hereof and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this releas

Ironhorse sells Shackleton gas property to focus on oil at Pembina, Leon Lake


CALGARY, Oct. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - Ironhorse Oil & Gas Inc. ("Ironhorse" or the "Company") (TSX-V: IOG) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to sell its 50% working interest in the Shackleton, Saskatchewan gas property for cash consideration of $10.2 million effective August 1, 2011 with an anticipated closing date of October 26, 2011. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the purchaser has placed a cash deposit, equal to 10% of the purchase price, in trust with their legal advisers.

"The sale of our natural gas property gives us running room to pursue our opportunity rich oil prospects," said Larry Parks, Ironhorse's President & CEO. "This disposition allows us to complete the transition to an oil-based production and reserves growth platform".

Net proceeds from the sale of the Shackleton property will be used to pay down the Company's outstanding bank debt which is approximately $14.5 million. Subsequent to the sale of the Shackleton property the Company's lender has agreed to a $10.2 million credit facility comprised of a $6.1 million primary revolving facility and a $4.1 million bridge facility. The bridge facility is available to finance the on-stream development costs for the Company's proven oil reserves at Pembina, Alberta as well as the drilling of new oil opportunities at Leon Lake, Saskatchewan. The bridge facility matures on March 30, 2012 at which time the Company expects to have its Pembina oil wells on production. The Company is actively marketing its interest in the Pembina property in order to monetize the value of the property.

Ironhorse estimates its daily production rate after closing the sale of Shackleton property will be 75 boe per day. The daily production rate is expected to increase in March 2012 when the two (0.3 net) Pembina oil wells are placed on production at a gross rate of 2,000 (300 net) boepd. In October the Company participated in the drilling of a third well at Pembina which encountered significant Nisku oil pay. The latest Pembina well was drilled as a pressure maintenance well in anticipation of submitting an application to produce the two existing Pembina oil wells pursuant to good production practices ("GPP"). GPP will allow the Pembina oil wells to produce at higher daily rates while at the same time optimizing the recovery of oil reserves. The latest Pembina well supports Ironhorse's current independent reserves analysis dated April 13, 2011 which assigned to the Company recoverable proven plus probable reserves of 1.1 million boe and estimated cash flows before tax discounted at 10% of $37.5 million.

At Leon Lake the Company continued to develop its oil resource play with the drilling of two (1.5 net) oil wells in September. The two wells were cased for Upper and Lower Shaunavon oil and will be completed later this fall. Ironhorse has also commenced work on a three dimensional seismic program over the balance of its lands at Leon Lake. Results from the seismic program are expected to be interpreted by December 2011.

Oil Boom Lets Saskatchewan Plot Its Own Course

GORDON PITTS - The Globe and Mail

The area is called Lost Horse Hill, but there is nary a lost horse, or much of a hill, in sight. There is, however, a skinny metal rig where a drilling crew is scrambling to connect an extension to the well-bore pipe on this oil-rich patch of southeastern Saskatchewan.

The team from Big Sky Drilling is running more than a month behind schedule because of this year’s heavy rains. By the time they’re through, they’ll have drilled more than a kilometre deep, before tunnelling horizontally for at least another kilometre, blasting away rock with a high-pressure onslaught of water and chemicals.

The well at Lost Horse Hill, to be operated by Calgary’s PetroBakken Energy Inc., lies along the northern tier of the vast Bakken formation, the biggest energy pool to be tapped in North America for 50 years. This year’s flooding is just a hiccup in a massive energy play that is transforming the economy of Middle Canada.

The Bakken formation, located in the 600,000-square-kilometre Williston Basin, cuts across three U.S. states and two Canadian provinces and contains hundreds of billions of barrels of oil. If even if a tiny percentage is recovered, it means huge injections of jobs, capital and consumer spending into parts of the Prairies that were largely bypassed in previous energy booms.

PetroBakken has emerged as one of the powerhouses in the Saskatchewan-Manitoba play – even though this summer’s high water shut in as many as 6,000 barrels of its daily production.

“The Bakken is still our flagship – it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” says Rene LaPrade, senior vice-president of operations.

About the only thing that could slow down production in the area is the price of oil, which has fallen 8 per cent this month and closed at $81.38 (U.S.) on Monday. But even at that level, PetroBakken is sitting comfortably. Mr. LaPrade figures oil prices would need to drop to $50 or $60 before it would look at pulling back.

Across the region, high expectations are triggering explosions of activity, as trucks rumble through the intersection of Highways 13 and 47 at Stoughton, just north of Estevan, generating a busy lunch-time crowd at Don’s Place, a diner where the daily special is a heart-stopping Cheese Denver sandwich.

The action is captured in the forest of drilling rigs and endless pump jacks that, amid this year’s slowly receding sloughs, seem to float on water, giving new meaning to the term “offshore drilling.” In the U.S. northern plains, where most of the Williston Basin is located, North Dakota, another flood-ravaged area, is experiencing a boom that defies the prevailing U.S. malaise. And a quarter of the basin lies in Saskatchewan – with a smaller slice in Manitoba. Very likely, a quarter of the Bakken energy trove is there, too.

That is the lure that brought Clayton Leavitt, 54, the area manager for PetroBakken, back to his first love, daily operations, after a stint in the executive suite of another Calgary company. In the first few months on the job in Saskatchewan, it has been a trial by flood, but he is satisfied drilling and production are finally getting back to normal.

“All the leases here used to be just a great big lake,” he says, as he surveys a stretch of still-soggy land a little distant from Lost Horse Hill.

His presence here is a manifestation of how Calgary capital and executive muscle is combining with local expertise and huge resource potential to change the economics of the region.

For local people who saw Saskatchewan dismissed for decades as Alberta’s poor cousin – who watched their children sucked away to better jobs in Alberta – there is satisfaction that the Bakken is now a big driver of the Western Canadian energy economy, and keeps the suits busy in downtown Calgary.

“Saskatchewan is carrying Calgary right now,” gibes Brent Dunnigan, an oilman in nearby Alameda, Sask., who runs his company in partnership with a couple of Calgarians.

That notion hit home for Mr. Leavitt, a rangy engineer quick with a quip, who remembered Saskatchewan as “the place you were from, not where you went to.” He found the reverse was true when he started looking for a home in the area. It took him three months to find a house in Estevan, the operational hub of the Canadian Bakken.

Prices in the small Saskatchewan city, which has a population of 13,000, are comparable with those in Calgary, he says, bemoaning the cruel fate that forced him to sell into a soft Calgary market and buy into Estevan’s hot scene – which persisted even though this year’s heavy rains at one point left Estevan a virtual island.

PetroBakken also owns some leases down in North Dakota and Montana – but Mr. LaPrade says the Canadian Bakken geology is more consistent with a lower exploration risk. The company has growing operations in southwestern Manitoba, where it shares the spotlight with firms such as Tundra Oil and Gas Ltd., the energy arm of the mighty Richardson family of Winnipeg.

Oil operations on the Saskatchewan side are dominated by PetroBakken and Crescent Point Energy Corp., also of Calgary, with a number of smaller players in the mix. “Crescent Point, who are they?” asks a mock-serious Mr. Leavitt. In fact, the two companies share some operations and are continually bumping into each other’s leaseholds.

All this activity means jobs for returning Saskatchewanians – and for those who stayed home, such as Lance Dodd, who commutes from Wapella, two hours north of Stoughton. Mr. Dodd is a farm boy who got into the energy business out of high school and has seen the Bakken develop from humble beginnings. Now he is PetroBakken’s field supervisor in the region.

Everyone knew the Bakken was big, he says, but there were always cheaper places to sink a drill. The turning point came five years ago when technology made it economical to tap shale oil – through horizontal drilling that cuts through tight formations, and hydraulic fracturing that bombards the rock with water.

Yet even with the Bakken’s rise, potash is the non-crop resource most closely identified with Saskatchewan. “It is often said we are the Saudi Arabia of potash and it is eye-popping in its magnitude,” says Ed Dancsok, the province’s assistant deputy minister of energy and resources. “In oil, we are not quite as gifted as some of our neighbours.”

Even so, oil and gas pump $1.5-billion a year into the provincial treasury, about seven times the haul from potash – except for one dizzying year, 2008-2009, when stratospheric potash prices delivered $1.36-billion.

Potash clearly has a huge upside – with a number of new mining sites in development – but the scale of the Bakken ensures that oil will enrich the provincial treasury far into the future. And nobody really knows how far the formation extends, or where all the untapped pockets lie.

“We’ve got an idea how big it is, but we keep pushing out the borders all the time,” Mr. Dodd says, as he steers the company pickup northward toward the edges of the formation.

The lingering question is how Saskatchewan will take advantage of this boom to build sustainable wealth. Mr. Dancsok points out that Federated Co-operatives Ltd. is undertaking a $1.5-billion expansion of its Regina refinery at a time when new refinery projects are rare. The development agency Enterprise Saskatchewan has an energy task force seeking out value-added opportunities.

Perhaps a bigger worry for the region’s boom, though, lies beyond the Bakken – the threat of a sharp recession leading to a steep decline in oil prices.

Mr. Dancsok, the assistant deputy minister, knows from bitter experience that commodities prices go down as well as up. But a move to lower prices would not be all bad, he argues, helping the key U.S. market get back on its feet.

“And we haven’t found the edge of the Bakken yet – the potential is vast.” is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.