Provincial support announced for the oil and gas industry

A series of relief measures is being implemented by the Saskatchean government for the oil and gas sector that like many others has been impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has seen the price of oil tumble.

“The Saskatchewan energy sector is the second largest contributor to provincial GDP and, directly or indirectly, employs more than 34,000 people; so doing all we can to protect jobs is a major priority,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. “These relief measures will address certain immediate liquidity and administrative challenges to help companies focus on retaining as many workers, and as much production, as possible.”

Provincial relief measures by the Government of Saskatchewan include:

• Extending a series of filing and other deadlines to assist the oil and gas sector in stabilizing operations, as their employees transition to working from home. These extensions do not impact health or environmental safety and apply to routine reporting activities, which will be addressed when the sector returns to normal operations.

• Extending mineral rights, scheduled to expire in 2020, by one year. This includes rights granted under the terms of an oil and gas lease, exploration license or permit. The extension will provide oil and gas disposition holders with the time necessary to properly evaluate their properties once the current situation stabilizes.

• Reducing the industry portion of the Oil and Gas Administrative Levy by 50 per cent this fiscal year and delaying the invoicing of the remaining balance until October 1, 2020. This will provide the sector with relief of $11.4 million to address immediate liquidity challenges. (It is important to note that unlike other sectors, the oil and gas sector pays for 90 per cent of its own regulatory costs).

The government is also announcing it has  reached a draft agreement with the Government of Canada on the regulation of methane reductions in the upstream oil and gas industry. The federal government will now begin the process of confirming the terms of the agreement through the federal review process. This agreement is the result of several months of engagement between the two levels of government and fulfills the request of industry to be regulated by the province.

“We are very pleased that the federal government has agreed with the strength of our Methane Action Plan, and that we have regained provincial jurisdiction over our regulations,” Eyre said. “We will now work with our operators in a common sense way to reduce emissions from venting and flaring by 4.5 million tonnes per year by 2025.”

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