Saskatchewan's resource reliance facing "unnecessary uncertainty"

Bronwyn Eyre, the province's minister of energy and resources, expressed frustration about constraints facing forestry, mining and energy opportunities. 


The annual Pacific North West Economic Region summit, held July 21-25 in Saskatoon, served as a reminder that despite the vast territory occupied by the group's 10 subnational governments of Canada and the United States, their issues are similar and in many cases interconnected.

At a panel on the importance of infrastructure, chaired by Montana legislator Derek Skees, Eyre (pictured) made it clear that the greatest obstacle of course to investment in the oil industry in Western Canada remains the lack of pipelines and the combined impact of a number of other policies.

Eyre has harshly criticized what she calls the federal government's "attempts to be intrusive and disruptive in terms of legislative changes, which include the carbon tax, Bill C-69, Bill C-68, and Bill C-48, as well as the Clean Fuel Standard." 

She believes that unnecessary uncertainty created by these "intrusive moves" by the federal government have, in combination, "created a degree of that is not acceptable for our province or for our nation."

It was clear from panel discussion that the pipeline woes of western Canada are not without impact in neighbouring jurisdictions that also have their own localized frustrations in getting projects built.

Referring to the government of Alberta's plan for an "energy war room" to ensure accurate information is available, Eyre said while Saskatchewan is not currently planning a parallel effort, the task of improving public understanding is something that individuals should take on personally.

Recently at Saskatchewan's Standing Committee on the Economy, Eyre provided highlights of the province's resource sector:

  • Oil and gas is responsible for an estimated 15 per cent of Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product, and we account for an estimated 12 per cent of the nation’s crude oil production. The number of horizontal oil wells drilled in Saskatchewan in 2018 was up 3 per cent from 2017. We produced an average of 488,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018, increasing slightly from the year before and making us the sixth-largest onshore producer in Canada and the United States. The combined value of oil and gas production is forecast to be $9.8 billion for 2018, up 6 per cent from 2017.
  • Our potash industry typically accounts for about 30 per cent of world production. And by conservative estimates, we could supply world demand for potash at current levels for several hundred years.
  • Saskatchewan is also the world’s second-largest producer of uranium. Our known uranium reserves and resources and geological potential for new discoveries will ensure that we remain a reliable, safe, and secure supplier to the global nuclear industry.
  • Forestry is one of northern Saskatchewan’s largest industries, second only to mining. Saskatchewan has 10 large primary forest products facilities producing lumber, pulp, and panels. We have more than 200 smaller businesses producing a variety of primary and secondary forest products. In 2018 forest product sales totalled over 1.2 billion, the highest value in over a decade. This sector also supplies nearly 8,000 jobs, approximately 30 per cent of which are Indigenous.

Eyre also pointed to extensive efforts to implement a methane regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry by 4.5 million tonnes. Saskatchewan maintains its policies will allow it to meet climate change objectives while also remaining competitive.

Though Saskatchewan is not located on the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that will increase oil flow between Alberta and B.C.'s Pacific Coast, the project has significant benefits for the province. In Regina, the Evraz steel mill is producing pipeline segments that will be used for the line. Most scrapped cars from western Canada are turned into steel here, so it's quite possible that a westerner's old ride will live on in the new pipeline.

Below are some photos showing a shift change at the mill as well as pipe inventory in the facility's yards:




Photos by Resource Works

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