Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Petroleum, Natural Gas Land Sales Dip in Saskatchewan at Time of Volatile Prices

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Petroleum, Natural Gas Land Sales Dip in Saskatchewan at Time of Volatile Prices

Article excerpt

Oil and gas land sales dip in Saskatchewan

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REGINA - Volatile commodity prices have led to a big drop in the October sale of petroleum and natural gas rights in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan government says the October sale brought in $9.8 million, bringing the total land-sale revenues to $45.5 million so far this year.

But the numbers are far below what the province raked in last year.

The February 2014 sale alone of petroleum and natural gas rights brought in $50.7 million in revenue. The October 2014 sale of petroleum and natural gas rights was $21.6 million and land sales to that point in the year were $179.6 million -- nearly four times more than the total so far this year.

Paul Mahnic, acting executive director of the government's lands and mineral tenure branch, says acquiring more land is not attractive to the industry right now. Mahnic says most land leases for exploration are for five years, meaning companies have to start exploring, drilling and producing in that time or the lease reverts back to the government.

"If they pick it up now and the price is low, they may not want to drill," says Mahnic. "The clock is ticking so they kind of have to gauge the timing on when they acquire tenure (and) what they already have acquired. …

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