The Current State of Saskatchewan’s Oil and Gas Industry


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The landscape of the Saskatchewan petroleum industry has changed dramatically over the past decade. In 2007, just over a quarter of the wells drilled in the province for oil and gas were horizontal, and almost a quarter of all the petroleum and natural gas wells drilled were for shallow gas. Since then, the province has seen over 26,000 wells drilled, of which nearly half have been horizontally drilled and ‘frac’d’ into the unconventional Bakken, Viking, Shaunavon, and Torquay plays. The Viking light oil play of west-central Saskatchewan has been the primary focus of oil drilling in the province over the past five years. To a slightly lesser extent, the Shaunavon oil play of southwest Saskatchewan and the Bakken, Torquay and Mississippian oil plays in the southeast corner of the province were also primary targets.

Saskatchewan’s petroleum industry saw a record year in 2014, with oil production reaching 172.9 million barrels (27.5 million cubic metres), and slightly reduced numbers since then, due to a depressed market. Still, the Mississippian in the southeast and Mannville in west-central continued to dominate Saskatchewan’s overall production.

With continued refinement of technologies required to access the petroleum resources of Saskatchewan, companies will continue to delineate many of the known plays in the Viking, Mississippian, Bakken and Shaunavon, through infill and pool edge drilling. Companies will also increase production in the heavy oil pools through improved enhanced oil recovery technologies.

Though the bulk of activity in Saskatchewan is reliant on the known producers, many future prospects for deeper wildcat plays exist and include the Red River and the Winnipegosis inter-reef play, to name a few.

Your Instructor

Melinda Yurkowski
Melinda Yurkowski

Melinda Yurkowski is currently the Assistant Chief Geologist, heading up the Petroleum Geology Branch in the Saskatchewan Geological Survey at Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy. She completed her B.Sc. and her M.SC degrees in Geology at the University of Regina. Her Master’s thesis focused on understanding the reservoir conditions of the Devonian Winnipegosis pinnacle reefs in southeast Saskatchewan. She has worked in both private and public sectors and has been with the Saskatchewan Government since 1998. In 2002 she became a Senior Research Geologist with the Survey and worked primarily on the geology of the shallow and unconventional gas deposits of Saskatchewan and in 2010, took on her current role at the Subsurface Geological Lab in Regina. She is also fortunate to work a bit of geology into her schedule and is currently researching helium deposits in Saskatchewan

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