April 10, 2018

2018-19 Budget Enhances Pipeline Regulations and Mineral Exploration in Saskatchewan

The 2018-19 Budget will see significant enhancements to the province’s petroleum and mineral resource sectors.  The Ministry of Energy and Resources’ budget of $45.8 million includes an increase of $665,000 (1.5 per cent).

The increased funding will contribute to the following initiatives:

  • $750,000 for a new four-year Mineral Development Strategy to create an incentive program to encourage mineral exploration and to increase the amount of geophysical data available.
  • An additional $1.0 million (total budget of $1.5 million) to continue the enhancement of the Integrated Resource Information System (IRIS) for the Pipeline Regulation Enhancement Program (PREP).  IRIS is a custom built online business system that supports the development and regulation of Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry.  This continues government’s commitment, announced last year, for a multi-year program to strengthen Saskatchewan’s approach to pipeline regulation.

“This budget helps ensure that our energy and resource sectors continue to lead the way in Saskatchewan’s economic growth,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said.  “With the additional funding announced today, our government is on track to fulfill our commitment to enhance our oil and gas regulatory programs.  The new Mineral Development Strategy will encourage industry to conduct more exploration in Saskatchewan and will help protect important northern jobs in our current mining centres.”

The funding for the Pipeline Regulation Enhancement Program supports the Government of Saskatchewan in working closely with the oil and gas industry to ensure the pipeline sector operates safely in Saskatchewan.  These additional resources will address critical planning and IT development needs in PREP, announced last year.

The new Mineral Development Strategy will focus on base metals, precious metals and diamond commodities, which have significant, unrealized potential to help grow and diversify Saskatchewan’s mineral sector.  Saskatchewan’s mining industry is an important source of high paying jobs in northern and rural communities.  A key emphasis of the strategy will be to encourage base metal exploration in the Creighton-Denare Beach area, which has a long history of base metal mining and processing.

In its recent 2017 survey for mining investment, the Fraser Institute ranked Saskatchewan second out of 91 jurisdictions in the world for mining investment attractiveness.  Preliminary estimates indicate that the value of Saskatchewan’s mineral sales for 2017 was about $6.5 billion, up slightly from the year before, and the province remains a global leader in uranium and potash production.

Oil and gas is responsible for an estimated 15 per cent of Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product, and recent numbers—such as increased production, exploration, and revenue—have shown clear signs of renewed activity and growth in the industry.  Saskatchewan is the second-largest producer among Canada’s provinces, accounting for an estimated 12 per cent of the nation’s crude oil production.