Manitoba Oil & Gas 2015

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MANITOBA Oil & Gas Review 2015

Falling Oil Prices Spell Uncertainty Ahead – but Communities and Industry Remain Positive The University of Manitoba’s Centre for Oil & Gas Research and Development Looks to the Future


Manitoba’s Oil-Patch Roads Get Funding Boost Managing Risk: Safety and Health in the Oil Fields The Impact of 2014 Flooding on the Industry Opportunities Abound in Brandon

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In this issue... Overview of Manitoba’s Oil Patch....................................................................................................... 8 Message from the Minister of Manitoba Mineral Resources: Building Manitoba’s Oil and Gas Industry Together................................................................... 10 Message from MP Larry Maguire: Supporting Canada’s Energy Sector............................... 12 Message from Doyle Piwniuk, MLA for Arthur-Virden.............................................................. 14 Message from the Mayor of Brandon: Brandon is Open for Business................................... 16 Message from Virden Mayor Jeff McConnell............................................................................... 18 Oil Industry Will Rebound: a Message from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall................ 20 Fraser Institute 2014 Global Petroleum Survey: Manitoba Again Ranks Highly Attractive for Upstream Petroleum Investment................ 24 CAODC Forecasts Economic Pain Before Recovery.................................................................... 27 Falling Oil Prices Spell Uncertainty Ahead..................................................................................... 28 Manitoba’s Oil-Patch Roads Get Much-Needed Funding......................................................... 32 Leading the Curve: The University of Manitoba’s Centre for Oil & Gas Research and Development............... 34 2014 Flood Causes Shutdowns and Delays for Manitoba’s Oil Sector................................. 36 Manitoba’s Oil Patch Communities Stand Strong....................................................................... 38 Opportunities Worth Exploring in Brandon................................................................................... 46 Oil Field Service Companies Look to Brandon for New Opportunities.................................. 54 Encore! Five Reasons Why Brandon Won Over WestJet.......................................................... 58 Redvers & District Oil Showcase Giving Back............................................................................... 62 The 24th Williston Basin Petroleum Conference & Expo.......................................................... 64 Managing Risk: Safety and Health in the Oil Fields..................................................................... 66 RCM Safety Services: a Higher Level of Care................................................................................ 70 Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Programs Protect the Landscape.................................................. 72 Altus Group: Black Gold to Real Gold.............................................................................................. 74 Changing Standards in Archaeology............................................................................................... 78 Power Supplied: Tundra Turning Waste Gas into a New Form of Energy............................. 80 Utilizing Flare Gas to Generate On-Site Power with Microturbines....................................... 82 A Smooth Process: Swagelok’s Space-saving Process Interface Valves............................... 83 Helly Hansen Workwear Enhances Canadian Work Environments....................................... 84 Oil Prices Will Rebound by This Summer...................................................................................... 88 Six Planning Imperatives for Oil and Gas Companies in Volatile Times............................... 90 Helping Prevent the Spread of Clubroot and Other Unwanted Pests.................................... 92 Keystone XL Debate Continues To Rage........................................................................................ 94 TSL Industries: Trucking into the Future......................................................................................... 96 Index to Advertisers............................................................................................................................. 98


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Published by: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, MB R3L 0G5 President & CEO: David Langstaff Publisher: Jason Stefanik Editor: Lyndon McLean Advertising Sales Manager: Dayna Oulion Advertising Sales: BRIAN GEROW ROSS JAMES Jimmy Norris Mic Paterson Anthony Romeo Gary seamans Production services provided by: S.G. Bennett Marketing Services Art Director: Kathy Cable Layout & Design: JOEL GUNTER Advertising Art: DANA JENSEN SHERI KIDD ©Copyright 2015. Manitoba Oil & Gas Review. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and the reliability of the source, the publisher­in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher­, its directors­, officers or employees. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 Email: PRINTED IN CANADA 04 | 2015


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manitoba oil ACTIVITY

Overview of Manitoba’s Oil Patch No. of Producing Wells: Initial Production Rate: Recovery: Oil Density: Cumulative Production:

Manitoba’s Oil Activity Total producing wells = 5,077 Total SWD wells = 105 Total WIW = 578


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

5,077 (December 2014) Vertical well 3 – 8 m3/d (18-50 b/d) Horizontal well up to 50 m3/d (300 b/d) 5 – 15% OOIP primary 20 – 35% OOIP secondary 25 – 400 API 56.1 million m3 (352 million bbls)

2014 Wells Drilled = 464 – with 21 rigs working 2014 Oil Production = 16.4 million barrels* 2013 Wells Drilled = 553 2013 Production = 19.2 million barrels *not final

Impact for Manitoba • 2014

– $22 million in provincial revenues – $195.9 (2013) million in freehold minerals – $11.4 million to RMs – $1.0 billion industry expenditures

• Since 1951 to Dec 31, 2014

– 8,682 wells drilled – 56.1 m3 (352.7 million bbls) produced

Primary Drilling targets: Bakken – Three Forks Lower Amaranth (Spearfish)

Outlook for 2015 • $700 million expenditures • Anticipate 280 wells • Production estimated at 47,000 bopd • To date drilling is similar to last year

Information provided by the Petroleum Branch. u

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


message from Minister of Manitoba Mineral Resources – Dave Chomiak

Building Manitoba’s Oil and Gas Industry Together


n behalf of the Province of Manitoba, I am delighted to extend greetings to the businesses and workers who make up our oil and gas industry. Over the last decade, oil development in Manitoba has moved forward at a record rate. More than 4,000 wells have been drilled across western Manitoba in the past 10 years, and in 2012 extraction surpassed 50,000 barrels per day. The benefits of these projects are undeniable

– local economies have grown, businesses are seizing new opportunities, and the industry now provides 5,500 Manitobans with a good job. Certainly, recent changes in the price of oil have caused shockwaves of uncertainty across the nation, but Manitobans are resourceful and our economy is expected to remain strong. In fact, between September and December 2014, 143 new wells were drilled in Manitoba, compared to 102 for the same period in 2013. In ad-



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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

dition, the Manitoba Drilling Incentive Program has been enhanced and extended through 2018 in order to help producers through market fluctuations. I am certain that by working together we can overcome any hurdles that these changes will present. In the year ahead, I look forward to continuing to build a sustainable oil industry that benefits Manitoba communities and families. Indeed, years of rapid growth has presented several challenges, and we must now work together to ensure that infrastructure supports and enhances development, that workers have the skills they need to fill demand, and that extraction is done sustainably for the benefit of future generations. Our government is proud to partner with Manitoba’s oil and gas sector to address these challenges and ensure that Manitoba families benefit from resource development. That is why we are investing in skills training by certifying more apprentices, building and renovating shops classrooms, and providing apprenticeship tax credits to businesses. We are also making record investments in roads, highways and bridges across western Manitoba to support economic development and help businesses get their goods to market. Our government knows that a successful oil sector means success for all Manitobans. I want to wish you all the best for a productive year ahead. Let’s continue building a strong, sustainable industry that benefits all Manitobans for generations to come. u

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MESSAGE FROM MP larry maguire

Supporting Canada’s Energy Sector By Larry Maguire, MP for Brandon-Souris


ur Conservative Government strongly supports Canada’s energy and natural resource sector, which represents 18 per cent of the Canadian economy, supporting 1.8 million jobs directly and indirectly. Canada’s abundance of natural resources provides tremendous economic opportunity, and our government’s plan for responsible resource development is essential to Canada’s long-term prosperity. Canada is a major player in the world energy economy, and the development of our energy sector is essential to providing energy security for Canada, North American and the global market. Despite the rapid growth of American oil production, the United States still needs to import crude oil to meet projected demands. Our Conservative Government has been a strong advocate for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Building on our long-standing partnership, the Keystone XL pipeline will help meet these demands by increasing

the existing transport of Canadian and American crude oil to American refineries. The Keystone XL Pipeline project will provide significant benefits to both Canada and the United States, creating tens of thousands of jobs, billions in economic benefits and substantially increasing North American energy security. In fact, over the next 25 years, Canada’s energy sector – with the addition of the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipelines – is expected to support more than 700,000 jobs across Canada on average each year and contribute $2.1 trillion to the Canadian economy. Meanwhile, in the United States, the development of new pipelines and the delivery of product to market would support an average of almost 170,000 American jobs and increase the sector’s impact on the U.S. GDP to annual average of $15 billion over the next 25 years. What’s more, it would provide the U.S. a stable supplier of crude oil that

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shares their objective of acting environmentally responsible. In Canada, we have taken strong action in the energy sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operate within a framework of environmental protection. Our government recognizes that the Keystone XL Pipeline project shares our economic and environmental objectives. The U.S. State Department’s latest environmental impact review has again confirmed that the pipeline would have a minimal impact on the environment. On the contrary, the final report indicated that with the continued demand for crude oil imports, not approving the Keystone XL pipeline would pose a greater risk to the environment. Joe Oliver, former Minister of Natural Resources, has remarked that the “Keystone XL has been the most exhaustively studied pipeline project ever proposed in the U.S. In January, the State Department confirmed once again that Keystone XL would have no significant impacts on the environment. The choice is obvious — Keystone XL should be approved, to the benefit of both our countries.” The Obama Administration’s continued delay in approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline is disappointing. Based on its strong merits, our Conservative Government will continue to support the Keystone XL, as we remain committed to job creation, the responsible development of our natural resources and Canada’s long-term economic prosperity. u

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MESSAGE FROM Doyle Piwniuk, MLA Arthur-Virden

Our Oil Industry


he oil industry has always been one of the most important sectors in the ArthurVirden constituency. The hard work and talent of several generations of oilfield operators, geologists, service rig operators, oilfield engineers, drilling technicians, construction workers, pipeline employees and transportation workers

have laid the foundation of its powerful potential and ensured this region’s leading position on the country’s energy market. On behalf of Arthur-Virden Constituents and my office, I would like to thank everyone for the hard work and dedication that has made our region a huge success. u



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Message from the Mayor of Brandon

City of Brandon is “Open for Business”


t gives me great pleasure on behalf of Brandon City Council and the citizens of Brandon to bring greetings to our exciting and burgeoning oil and gas industry of Manitoba. This is a

promising time for the economy of Southwestern Manitoba as activities ramp up in several oil and gas plays in our region. Brandon is pleased to offer itself as a community keen to host companies, organizations and employees who are active in the oil industry. As the largest urban and commercial centre in close proximity to Manitoba’s oil fields, we are ideally situated and equipped to be home base for enterprises associated with the oil and gas sector. Brandon is “open for business”, and several oil industry firms have chosen our great city as the centrepiece for their operations in the region.

from legal to engineering to financial make Brandon an attractive setting. Rounding out our amenities, Brandon boasts a vast array of sporting activities to participate in or to enjoy from the stands, plus a diverse offering in recreation, arts and culture as well. Brandon’s development community is active and skilled in our busy housing sector and commercial and industrial development as well. Several areas for industrial and business expansion are available in our city, which may make start-up quick and expedient. Our Economic Development Department would be pleased to assist in providing information and assistance to any prospective enterprise wishing to consider Brandon. Let me close by saying I am “bullish” on the prospects for the oil and gas industry in our region, and you can rest assured that

With an urban population of 50,000+, Brandon is rich with

Brandon will be active in growing this sector of our economy. I

amenities and services that enhance any business enterprise. Con-

extend best wishes to all companies, organizations and employees

sider our large regional health centre and outstanding educational

who are engaged in this exciting industry and hope that we have

facilities, including a strong public school system, as well as Bran-

the opportunity to join with you all in moving forward the pros-

don University and Assiniboine Community College. A large and

perity for our region.

diverse retail sector, coupled with an abundance of restaurants and hotels, make Brandon a significant regional commercial hub.

Best regards,

Clustering with other industrial enterprises and business services

Rick Chrest, Mayor of Brandon u

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MESSAGE FROM Jeff McConnell – Mayor of Virden

Hello from Virden, the Oil Capital of Manitoba!


ven though this past year has provided some significant challenges to our region, the southwest corner of Manitoba still has a strong future with lots of growth. Virden

facilities. Our multi-purpose recreation facility known as Tundra

is strategically located at the intersection of two major highways

indoor rodeo, concerts and regional/provincial sporting events.

and within the heart of Manitoba’s petroleum producing region. We have over 3,000 people who call Virden home. 2015 started well with Virden hosting the women’s provincial curling finals, and Virden-trained figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Then the flood challenge came and our communities were tested. How-

Virden is well known for its cultural activities and recreational Oil & Gas Place is home to large banquet functions, our famous The Virden Oil Capitals, a Manitoba Junior Hockey League team, have a large fan base and have made another trip to the playoffs. The Virden Community Arts Council is housed in our CP Station Art Gallery and offers many shows in the 500 seat Aud Theater, Western Canada’s Oldest Opera House. Our airport offers a paved runway and tarmac, as well as jet fuel

ever, the spirit of Westman came through and we all helped each

and avgas. It is a surprisingly busy facility. Industrial development

other through the significant challenges that followed. You will

continues to pop up in our industrial park next to the airport. The

see infrastructure being re-built around the area for some time

agriculture and oil sectors contribute to the need for our many

as the flood damage is significant. Together we are working to

retail and service businesses. We welcome the opportunity to dis-

improve the situation.

cuss your commercial or industrial concepts for our community,

The current price of oil has caused some concerns for many but the strength of community has not wavered. When I talk with businesses in the area, I learn that they are continuing to invest

whether it is in Virden or in the surrounding communities. Whether you are visiting or looking to stay for a while, we think you will find Virden’s quality of life is second to none.

in their futures in our community. They are not slowing down or

On behalf of the council, staff and people of Virden and area,

pulling up stakes, as the opportunities continue to exist in West-

we hope you find exactly what you are looking for in Virden,


where we have a proud heritage and strong future! u


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015




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MESSAGE FROM Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan

Oil Industry Will Rebound It’s Time for North America to Act Like an Energy Superpower By Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan


he great British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said there’s no education like adversity. If that’s the case, the oil industry has done a lot of learning during the last few months, and so have governments that rely on the industry for investment, revenue and jobs. We have witnessed a precipitous drop in oil prices that virtually no one foresaw, a decline so steep the industry’s basic operating assumptions are being questioned by many. This is indeed a challenging time for


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

companies, employees, and jurisdictions like Saskatchewan. As we deal with those challenges, we need to keep in mind that we’ve been here before, and not so long ago. Oil prices plunged in 2009, and the industry faced the same uncertainty it confronts today. But prices bounced back fairly quickly, thanks in large part to growing demand in the developing world. And while this time prices may not recover as quickly, the industry’s demand dynam-

ics have been forever altered by the rise of countries like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand. Even if those Asian economies weaken in the short term, it is difficult to envision a scenario where global demand for oil languishes for long. The world’s population is expected to increase to more than 9 billion by 2050, with much of that growth to take place in Asia. Moreover, the world is becoming more affluent and more urbanized, which will translate into higher demand for energy.

From 2000 to 2012, demand for oil in Asia grew by 41.5 per cent, while demand declined in Europe and the United States, according to OPEC. OPEC forecasts that oil demand will climb from 90 million barrels a day in 2013 to 111 million barrels a day by 2040, with most of the increase coming in Asia. This is why I believe in the long term, the North American oil industry will prosper, provided we have the appropriate taxation and regulatory regimes in place and the necessary infrastructure to get our product to market. In the short-term, there will be some rocky days. Thankfully, the oil and gas industry is made up of tough and resilient people, and so is the Province of Saskatchewan. We are both accustomed to market volatility. Saskatchewan is a province of traders, exporting almost three quarters of the total value of what we grow, mine or build to markets around the world. Our economy relies heavily on natural resources to drive growth and investment. But while many know Saskatchewan as a leading producer of potash, uranium and agricultural products, and that diversity of resources will help see us through a slowdown, the contribution of oil to our economic wellbeing is not as well known outside the province. That’s why, wherever I go, I am quick to point out these facts: • That our province has 53.9 billion barrels of initial oil in place and 1.3 billion barrels of remaining recoverable reserves; • That Saskatchewan is Canada’s second largest oil producer and its third largest natural gas producer; • That prior to the recent decline in prices, Saskatchewan was producing a record amount of oil – more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day, with 65 to 70 of production exported to the United States. We ship more oil to the U.S. than Kuwait. • That Saskatchewan is a global leader in the research and development of enhanced oil recovery technologies; • That our industry has a solid track record of innovation, and has eagerly uti-

lized horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to boost production; Oil has provided an enormous economic boost to our province. In 2013, the industry accounted for an estimated 15.1 per cent of Saskatchewan’s $61.1 billion real gross domestic product. In 2014, it invested an estimated $6 billion in exploration and development, and supported approximately 38,000 jobs. Our government is extremely grateful for the hard work and enterprise of the hundreds of companies operating oil and

gas wells in the province and the firms that support them. The private sector deserves the credit for the impressive growth in Saskatchewan’s oil sector. For our part, the government has tried to help by creating an atmosphere conducive to growth. That we have had some success is borne out by the Fraser Institute’s annual Global Petroleum Survey, which ranked Saskatchewan as the third most attractive place in the world for the oil and gas industry. In these uncertain times, we will do everything we can to ensure Saskatchewan

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remains a competitive place to do business for the industry. That includes serving as a strong advocate on the national and international stage. We have been vocal in our support of major pipeline projects that will benefit Canadian oil producers, such as Northern Gateway, Keystone XL and Energy East. In our view, it is imperative these projects proceed if Canada is to live up to its status as a world energy superpower. The pipelines will provide a major boost to the North American economy, and ensure our oil can get to tide water, enabling producers to receive world prices for their product. I’ve travelled to Washington in support of TransCanada’s Keystone project. In speeches and in meetings with lawmakers, I’ve made the point that there are already more than 80 pipelines carrying hydrocarbons between Canada and the United States, all operating safely right under the nose of actress Daryl Hannah and other fervent opponents of Keystone. In those discussions, I’ve stressed the project’s economic benefits. According to the U.S. State Department, Keystone will contribute $3.2 billion to the U.S. GDP and create more than 42,000 jobs during construction. The State Department has also concluded that Keystone will not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Keystone is truly a “no brainer”, as Prime Minister Harper has said. But President Obama doesn’t see it that way. The project


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

is caught up in an intense political debate in the United States. I’m troubled by that debate, but I understand it. Opposition to the $12 billion Energy East project is harder to fathom. Energy East, another TransCanada undertaking, entails converting an existing natural gas pipeline to an oil pipeline and extending the pipeline to ports in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Seventy per cent of the pipeline is already built. Energy East, like Keystone, will enable Canadian oil producers to get world prices for their product, which will not only benefit those companies but all Canadians through increased tax revenue, wages and investment. The pipeline will allow for the shipment of conventional oil from West to East, opening up the possibility of Canadian oil displacing oil importing from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria. The economic benefits associated with Energy East have been confirmed by independent studies completed by Deloitte and the Conference Board of Canada. The Deloitte report predicts the pipeline will boost economic activity by $35 billion over its lifetime. This includes $10 billion in additional tax revenues, of which 20 per cent will flow to Quebec and 36 per cent to Ontario. It is estimated Energy East will create 10,000 full-time jobs in the construction phase, with most of the jobs going to workers in eastern Canada. Energy East is now the subject of a rigorous National Energy Board review.

I was pleased to see that my colleagues, Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario and Premier Philippe Couillard of Quebec, have dropped their demand to expand that review to include the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) generated in the production of the oil transported in Energy East. Still, Quebec and Ontario are not yet supporters of Energy East. There is, in fact, considerable opposition to the project. I have no doubt TransCanada will do everything it can to allay concern and correct misinformation. Those of us who support the oil industry, and understand and appreciate its importance to the Canadian economy, must help with the effort. And as we do, we need to deal in facts, for as the American president John Adams noted: “facts are stubborn things”. We should emphasize the fact that pipelines are by far the safest way to transport oil, far safer than moving oil by rail. We should make known the fact that every year, Canadian resource companies and governments lose out on billions of dollars in profit and tax revenue because we are unable to ship our oil to world markets. That means less money for job creation, less money for schools, hospitals and roads, less money for programs to help the most vulnerable among us. We need to disseminate the fact that few countries in the world have done as much as Canada to ensure the environmental sustainability of fossil fuel production. Over the years, billions of dollars have been invested to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. And finally, we need to explain that the oil and gas industry has sustained the Canadian economy through difficult times, with the economic benefits extending far beyond the borders of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2013 alone, the industry invested $74 billion and employed 530,000 people. All Canadians should be proud of our oil and gas industry. We should trumpet its risk-taking, its innovation and its social responsibility. Today, Canada can make an honest claim to being an energy superpower. It’s time we started acting like an energy superpower. u

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Fraser Institute 2014 Global Petroleum Survey: Manitoba Again Indicated as Highly Attractive for Upstream Petroleum Investment By Gerry Angevine


etroleum explorers and developers participating in the Fraser Institute’s eighth annual Global Petroleum Survey once again viewed Manitoba as one of the two most attractive Canadian jurisdictions for petroleum exploration and development. While Manitoba remains in second place among Canada’s petroleum producing provinces and territories, 2014 was the sixth consecutive year that the province placed in either first or second position in Canada as well as ranking very highly when compared with jurisdictions in the United States and other countries. Moreover, while both Manitoba and first-place Saskatchewan achieved improved overall Policy Perception Index scores compared with 2013, the upswing in the percentage of favorable responses to the survey questions favored Manitoba the most with the result that the gap between the two provinces has been largely eliminated. The 2014 Fraser Institute Survey was conducted during the summer of 2014 and the results were published in November. The findings are based on responses from 710 petroleum industry executives, managers and experts to questions regarding barriers to investment in petroleum exploration and production development in 156 provinces, states and countries. As in previous years, the survey questions targeted 16 important factors impacting petroleum companies’ willingness to invest in upstream petroleum exploration


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

and development. These include fiscal terms; taxation and other factors affecting the commercial environment such as the availability of skilled labor; quality of and access to essential infrastructure; the regulatory climate which investors face including the cost of regulatory compliance, duplication, inconsistent interpretation and enforcement of regulations; uncertainty regarding how environmental regulations may be altered; and a number of other important issues such as land claims disputes, political stability, and security of personnel and equipment. The various jurisdictions’ survey scores are based on the percentage of negative responses such as whether or not a given factor posed “a mild or strong deterrent to investment” or is so onerous that respondents “would not invest” in a given jurisdiction due to that policy factor. Consequently, those jurisdictions with the lowest scores are considered to pose lower or fewer barriers to investment and, therefore, to be the most attractive for investment. The Policy Perception Index rankings referred to earlier, in which all of the jurisdictions rated in the survey are included, don’t take the extent of their oil and gas resources into account. When an indication of their proved petroleum reserves is considered, the rankings are different. For example, when grouped with 27 other jurisdictions each holding at least one percent of the total proved petroleum reserves (of the 140 jurisdictions ranked

in the survey which have at least some proved reserves), Alberta – the only Canadian jurisdiction in the group – ranks as the second most attractive jurisdiction for investment, behind only Texas and ahead of Norway – North Sea, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the 22 other jurisdictions in this group of large reserve holders. In this group, Alberta moved up from 3rd position (of 26) in the 2013 survey. In a group of 44 jurisdictions each holding at least 0.1 percent of total proved reserves, but less than one percent, Newfoundland and Labrador ranks as the 15th most attractive jurisdiction for investment. The only other Canadian jurisdiction in this group, British Columbia, dropped to 19th place from 14th position (of 40) in 2013. Newfoundland and Labrador was moved to this group in the 2014 survey as the result of an increase in the province’s estimated reserves. All of the other Canadian jurisdictions with proved reserves fall in the third group, comprised of 69 jurisdictions with relatively small reserves. Manitoba is in 3rd place in this group compared with 5th place (of 70) in 2013, and Saskatchewan lies in 2nd place as in the previous year’s survey. Manitoba’s high ranking both overall and within the group of jurisdictions with relatively small reserves reflects the province’s positive attributes with regard to most of the factors addressed in the survey. The four other Canadian jurisdictions in this group – Nova Scotia, New Bruns-

wick, Yukon and Northwest Territories – all ranked near the middle of the group. On the basis of the Policy Perception Index rankings obtained when all of the jurisdictions for which sufficient survey responses were obtained are included, regardless of the extent of their petroleum resources, Table 1 shows that the three Prairie Provinces were ranked higher by the survey participants in 2014 than Canada’s four other significant oil- and gas-producing jurisdictions in terms of attractiveness for upstream investment – repeating the success of this group in this respect during 2012 and 2013. Compared with Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Alberta has demonstrated the most improvement since 2009 and 2010 as the provincial government backtracked from the royalty hikes embedded in the so-called “New Royalty Framework.” However, while Manitoba registered a strong performance in 2014 as indicated by a considerably stronger score (i.e. a smaller number, reflecting a lower percentage of negative responses), Alberta received a less attractive overall score for the second consecutive year on account of less positive responses with regard to a number of factors including regulatory uncertainty, the increasing cost of regulatory compliance and infrastructure quality. Manitoba gained considerable ground on Saskatchewan in the 2014 survey as the result of significantly stronger scores than in 2013 with regard to the disputed land claims and uncertainty with regard to protected areas factors. Moreover, the province achieved an improved score with respect to uncertainty surrounding environmental regulations and benefited from perceived improvements in factors impacting the commercial environment such as the fiscal regime, taxation in general, and the quality of infrastructure. However the cost of regulatory compliance and uncertainty with regard to the interpretation and administration of regulations (as well as with environmental regulations) were again judged to be of significantly greater concern in Manitoba than in Saskatchewan. As a result, Saskatchewan continues to have the most positive regulatory climate in Canada in the eyes of upstream petroleum investors.

Table 1

Survey Results for Selected Canadian Jurisdictions Index Values and Canadian Rankings (of 7) 2014






10.3 (1)

11.4 (1)

14.6 (2)

17.5 (1)

17.6 (2)


11.5 (2)

16.9 (2)

11.1 (1)

17.5 (2)

12.5 (1)


26.6 (3)

24.5 (3)

21.1 (3)

32.7 (5)

36.7 (6)

Newfoundland & Labrador

39.1 (4)

26.4 (4)

33.8 (6)

32.3 (4)

32.4 (3)

Nova Scotia

49.0 (5)

27.5 (5)

26.2 (4)

26.6 (3)

33.3 (5)

British Columbia

49.6 (6)

35.6 (6)

27.7 (5)

41.4 (6)

33.2 (4)

Northwest Territories

53.1 (7)

40.8 (7)

39.6 (7)

64.8 (7)

44.1 (7)

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Table 2

How the Western Provinces Rank Worldwide 2014 (of 156)

2013 (of 157)

2012 (of 147)

2011 (of 135)

2010 (of 133)



















British Columbia






Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories each received significantly poorer scores in 2014 than in 2013 (Table 1). In all four provinces the deterioration in investor sentiment was broadly based, resulting in much less attractive Commercial Environment Index and Regulatory Climate Index ratings. In Nova Scotia, the percentages of negative responses recorded on the questions pertaining to land claim disputes, the cost of regulatory compliance and regulatory duplication increased significantly. In the three other jurisdictions in this group increased uncertainty pertaining to environmental regulation contributed to less favorable rankings than a year earlier, while in both British Columbia and the Northwest Territories greater concern with regard to the manner in which regulations pertaining to the upstream oil and gas industry are interpreted and administered was recorded.

In British Columbia responses with regard to “taxation in general” also contributed to the deterioration in the province’s performance. In Newfoundland and Labrador much greater negativity was expressed regarding labor regulations and agreements and land claims disputes than in 2013. Again on the basis of Policy Perception Index results for all jurisdictions regardless of the extent of their petroleum resources, Table 2 illustrates that Manitoba and Saskatchewan rank among the top 10 jurisdictions worldwide in terms of attractiveness for upstream investment for the second year running. Although Alberta didn’t achieve a score as attractive as those posted by Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the province continued to improve its global position in the wake of its return to a more competitive fiscal regime. British Columbia, which slipped from 39th place (of 147) in 2012 to 47th place (of 157) in 2013, slid to 62nd spot (of 156) in the 2014

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survey as a consequence of considerably less favorable scores on a wide range of factors. In order to maintain its position as one of the more attractive jurisdictions for investment in petroleum exploration and production development, Manitoba will need to ensure that the fiscal regime applicable to crude oil production (the province has very little natural gas resources) and taxation in general continue to contribute to a competitive commercial environment. But more important, perhaps, in light the 2014 petroleum survey findings, the province must strive to lower the cost of regulatory compliance and reduce investors’ concern regarding uncertainty pertaining to the manner in which petroleum exploration, development and production regulations are being interpreted and administered and in relation to possible changes in environmental regulations. The Fraser Institute is a non-profit research and education organization. The full report on the results of the 2014 Global Petroleum Survey may be downloaded free-ofcharge at: research/publications/global-petroleumsurvey-2014.pdf. The 2015 survey will be launched during the summer and results will be available in the fall. Gerry Angevine is a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute. u

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

CAODC Forecasts Economic Pain Before Recovery After Years of High Commodity Prices, Oil-Drilling Companies Transition to Survival Mode

CAODC President Mark Scholz

By Tim Banman


he Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) revised its annual drilling activity forecast – and scratched its earlier estimate of $85/bbl WTI – as oil prices dropped in late 2014 and stayed low into the early months of 2015. Not since 2009 have circumstances required a revised forecast, with prices having plunged 60 per cent since highs in the summer of 2014. The CAODC forecasts the depressed price of oil and natural gas will reduce the number of active drilling rigs in service in Western Canada, resulting in an industrywide slowdown and job losses. Assuming WTI averages $55/bbl in 2015, the CAODC forecasts the number of active drilling rigs in service to drop to 203 per day from an average of 370 per day last year. The CAODC projects decreased drilling activity could result in direct job losses of up to 3,400, in addition to 19,500 indirect jobs. President Mark Scholz sees months of pain ahead for drillers, which will transition to survival mode until commodity prices recover. As Manitoba Oil & Gas Review goes to press, the CAODC reports casualties have so far been minimal. But, Scholz cautions, “The longer this prolongs, the more likely there are going to be additional companies in very difficult positions.”

“Companies are just trying to survive right now,” says Scholz. “Their day rates are being hit very hard. Pressures from producers are hitting hard. It’s just a very brutal experience for a lot of our members.” The economic forecast estimates first quarter results could see 35 per cent fleet utilization – compared to an average year at 55 per cent. Second quarter utilization is expected around 12 per cent – half last year’s. Overall for 2015, the association expects fleet utilization to drop to 26 per cent from 46 per cent last year. With first quarter utilization down by 20 per cent, companies will see significant strains on cash flow through 2015. The first quarter provides the bread and butter to sustain work throughout the rest of the year, Scholz explains. With the hit to cash flow, it will take more time for companies to accumulate the funds required reinvest in production. The CAODC considers the $55/bbl average a realistic overall estimate for 2015 but still expects to see price volatility throughout the year. The reality, Scholz explains, is no one knows for sure what the price will do in the coming months. “The volatility we see in the market that we see today is something that a lot of people haven’t seen in a very long time,” he notes. Until commodity prices recover,

companies are working to minimize fixed costs as much as possible. “I think every kitchen cupboard is being explored for cost savings,” Scholz says. “The challenge is that the longer we’re in this period, the longer it’s going to take to come out.” “Long term, I think the business is still a good one to be in,” he says. “This is just part of the oil and gas business. This is something the industry’s been through, and we’ll get through this one. We’re just hoping we get through it with as minimal bumps and bruises on the way through it, and as few casualties as possible.” A crucial part of the recovery will come from retaining key crew workers and by keeping rigs working as long as possible. The loss of drillers, rig managers, and derrick hands to other employment opportunities in 2009 impeded the recovery, as the tickets and training for new recruits can be costly. Scholz hopes to see members able to hold onto their most valuable asset: their staff. For more information see: u

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


The Price is Wrong

Falling Oil Prices Spell Uncertainty Ahead

Photo credit: Economic Development Brandon

By Melanie Franner


n its report entitled Regional Shakeup: The Impact of Lower Oil Prices on Canada’s Economy, the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) suggests that oil prices have bottomed out at US$50 per barrel. It also predicts that prices will recover to above US$60 per barrel by the end of 2015. Regardless of this slight rebound, the drop in oil prices will have a significant

impact on the country. The CBOC states: “Canada’s economy will suffer from the shock to oil prices this year, especially from a sharp reduction in energy investment”. True, some provinces will feel this impact more so than others, with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador being singled out as being in the

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“more so” group. But with the recovery prices anticipated to be slow – the report says there is currently around one million barrels of excess oil supply – all provinces will feel some impact. The outlook for Manitoba is a positive one in some respects, with predictions seeing as much as 0.5 per cent added to its real GDP from the reduction in crude oil prices. The report states that Manitoba stands “to benefit from a boost to exportled manufacturing”. At the same time, it adds that because Manitoba is an energy-producing province, the positive benefits to manufacturing will likely be offset by the effects of lower energy-sector revenues; in other words, a net zero instead of a net loss, such as the case of Alberta, for example, which is anticipated to “suffer the lion’s share of revenue losses from the drop in oil prices”.

Photo credit: Sandy Black

Manitoba Musings According to Keith Lowdon, Director of Petroleum with the Manitoba Ministry of Mineral Resources’ Petroleum Branch, the province’s oil and gas industry contributed $147 million in direct and indirect taxes to the province – and employed 5,500 people – in 2014. “There is no question that if global oil prices continue to drop, drilling activity could be affected in the province,” says Lowdon. “While it is hard to determine what the effect will be, we currently estimate up to 350 wells being drilled this year, which will be a decline of 24.5 per cent from 2014.” The City of Brandon is an example of a city that is both directly and indirectly linked to oil field activity. “Brandon acts as the service centre for 180,000 people in southwest Manitoba so the local economy is directly impacted by how well or how poorly the rural economy is doing, which of course is impacted by how the oil and gas sector is performing,” says Sandy Trudel, Director of Development with Brandon Economic Development. “The dropping oil prices will definitely impact Brandon, but at this point, we have no idea to what degree. We don’t believe the impact will be anywhere close to the magnitude of the impact felt in those centres whose economy is predominantly oil and gas driven.” According to Trudel, there are 14 oil fields located within 160 kilometres of the city. “Our growth forecasts have not been adjusted, as our diverse economy allows

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us the comfort of withstanding dips in certain sectors, like oil and gas,” she says, adding that although some businesses that are directly serving the oil and gas sector have taken a cautionary approach, others are taking advantage of the budgetary relief from lower fuel costs and are investing these savings to strengthen their operations. The situation is the similar in the Town of Virden, another community that services the oil fields. “There are a lot of rumblings out on the oil patch right now,” says Mayor Jeff McConnell. “There will definitely be an impact but at this point, we don’t know what that impact will be. In the end, the oil is still there, as is the work that needs to be done on the fields.” According to McConnell, the Town of Virden has experienced significant growth over the last five years, in particular, because of the oil boom. “Every time there is a new well, that well needs to be serviced,” he says. “I think it’s safe to say that about half of the jobs

in this area are related to maintaining the oil fields. So yes, things might be a bit slow and there will be reductions in spending, but we are hopeful it won’t be as bad as some are predicting.” In fact, McConnell sees this reduction as a time for the Town to balance. He cites housing accommodations and market price corrections as possibilities, along with growth in other industries. “We have other significant industries in town,” he says. “We are aware of them and hope this will help others see that the strength of our community is more than just oil.”

On the Ground Nordic Oil & Gas Ltd. is one company with a lot of experience in the oil fields. The exploration firm has leases primarily in BC, SK and AB, but that may soon change. “Different opportunities become available during times like these,” says President and CEO Donald Benson. “I think we’ll see some good opportunities becoming avail-

able in Manitoba in the near future.” In fact, Benson recently bid on several of these “good opportunities” at one of the latest auctions. “We missed out this time around but we’re going to continue to look,” he says. “We’ve undertaken extensive exploration in Saskatchewan, right on the Manitoba border. We’re looking at the bigger picture right now and are thinking of attaining some leases in Manitoba.” Benson forecasts a much slower recovery than the one experienced after the last significant drop in oil prices. “In 1998, when the price of oil dipped down to US$10 barrel, there was a lot of fallout,” he says. “But the price came roaring back 15 months later and everything was fine. I don’t think the prices are going to come roaring back this time.” Business in Manitoba accounted for about 50 per cent of the total revenue for five-year-old Interra Energy Services Ltd., up until about six months ago. “Business slowly started to drop off, due to a combination of increased competition and falling oil prices,” notes Sean

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Judge, President of Interra, a designer and manufacturer of down-hole frac valves. “We have had a station located in Brandon since 2011, which has provided tremendous support and infrastructure to grow our Manitoba business. Despite the recent decline in activity, we’re confident that the resources and people that make up Manitoba’s oil and gas sector have a very promising future.” Judge remains optimistic. “During times like these, you have to adapt,” he says. “I’ve been in this industry for 20 years and I have never seen such a fast cycle. Interra Energy began in a down market, very similar to what the industry has today. Our effective business strategies, and improved completion techniques, provided operators improved results during challenging times. We look forward to working collaboratively with our clients through this downturn, as we have in the past, in anticipation of increased activity in the later part of this year. My optimistic view is that things will improve in July/August of this year, but I think the improvement will be

slow. I think it will be an 18-month cycle before things really get moving again.”

Rough Times Ahead Finding innovative ways to maneuver through these rough patches will more than likely be top-of-mind for businesses and people relying on the oil fields. There is no doubt that economies will be impacted. And, as with the provinces themselves, some communities may be impacted more than others. Forecasts suggest that this latest cycle will

be long and slow to respond. But the province of Manitoba has one significant advantage on its side. “Manitoba has one of the most diverse economies of all the western provinces,” says Virden Mayor McConnell. “In one way, this is good in that the province, as a whole, can withstand the hit from the oil and gas sector. Our area operates best on a strong oil industry. Yes, we want to see the prices go back up. But at the same time, we’re not going to panic while we wait for that to happen.” u

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Manitoba’s Oil-Patch Roads Get Much-Needed Funding No Help From Mother Nature By Melanie Franner

Keith Lowdon, Manitoba Petroleum Branch.

Todd Birkhan, Brandon Chamber of Commerce.


he $30 million in road infrastructure development announced by the Manitoba government in April 2014 was greeted with both relief and appreciation by those involved in province’s thriving oil fields. But Mother Nature threw caution to the wind and the massive flooding that soon followed destroyed some of what had already been accomplished. Today, industry and government are working hard to find ways to restore the balance and to create the infrastructure needed to keep the oil fields producing.

A Boost to the Economy The oil and gas industry has rapidly become a significant factor in Manitoba’s economy. In 2014, the industry contributed $147 million in direct and indirect taxes to the province – employing some 5,500 people in the process. Licenses issued, wells drilled and production have all risen dramatically. Production alone, for


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

example, has jumped from 32.3 thousand barrels a day in 2010 to 52.7 thousand in 2013 (2014 numbers aren’t yet available). The value of petroleum production in the province for 2013 has been estimated at approximately $1.77 billion. For the three-year period between 2011 and 2013, the total value of production was $4.7 billion. “Oil production in southern Manitoba has risen significantly in the past decade,” states Keith Lowdon, Director of Petroleum for the Manitoba Ministry of Mineral Resources. “Since the 2004 discovery of the Sinclair Oil Field, exploration in Manitoba has continued at a record rate, issuing nearly 5,000 drilling licenses in a single decade. By comparison, 5,365 well licenses were issued over the entire 53 year

period from 1951 to 2004.” But all of that activity has come at a cost – namely that of added stress to the province’s all-important transportation network. “Roads have been a challenge,” says Todd Birkhan, President of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. “They have been stretched to the limit.” Dennis Day, General Manager of Fast Trucking Services Ltd., also believes that the state of the roads is a going concern, especially for companies like his that travel to and from the oil fields. “The drilling rigs and equipment that we move up and down these roads has gotten so much bigger and heavier,” says Day. “It’s taking its toll on the roads. We’ve been going to government meetings for years

so it’s nice to hear that they’ve committed money to the roads. We have noticed some improvements, but there is definitely a lot more work that needs to be done.” The government’s announcement of $30 million highlighted a couple of stretches of the Trans-Canada Highway, including 21.9 kilometres between Oak Lake and Virden, as well as 13.2 kilometres of eastbound from PTH 41 to PTH 83. Other important projects, that ranged from resurfacing with chip seals and asphalt pavement to rehabilitating or replacing bridges and culverts, included spans on: Provincial Roads 251, 255 and 256, as well as PTH 83. “The province began addressing the roads last year but then we had watershed floods,” says Birkhan. “Those floods washed out a lot of the roads and bridges in many different areas. I think that $30 million is going to end up being a lot more than $30 million, especially when many municipalities see their money from disaster relief funds slowing down.” According to Ron Weatherburn, Executive Director of Construction and Maintenance with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT), the $30 million has already been spent – and then some. “Almost of the projects associated with the $30 million announcement were completed, plus many more projects associated with the 2014 flood event,” he says.

More to Come According to Weatherburn, capital spending in all areas of the province has risen significantly in the last few years. And it’s expected to continue to rise, with the provincial government committing a further $83 million to road infrastructure development in the oil patch. To date, MIT has identified the following projects: • PTH 3, over Graham Creek near Melita (structure replacement, already started); • PTH 83, over Bosshill Creek south of PR 257 (structure replacement, already started); • PTH 2 at PR 256 (intersection improvements); • PTH 2, at the Saskatchewan boundary to PTH 83 (a 34-kilometre paving project); • PTH 2, over Stony Creek near Reston (structure replacement); • PR 251, from PTH 21 to Waskada (an 18-kilometre grade widening and sealcoat project); • PR 255, from PR 256 to PTH 83 (spot grade improvements along a 21.3-kilometre section); • PR 256, from PTH 2 to Cromer (a 21.2-kilometre grade, base and paving project); • PR 545, from the Saskatchewan boundary to PTH 41 (an 8.9-kilometre grading project); and • PR 579, from PR 478 to PTH 83 (a

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6.4-kilometre spot grade improvement project). “Work is ongoing and will continue as fast as the heavy construction contractors can deliver,” says Weatherburn. Reaction to the additional $83 million investment has been positive. “We’re encouraged that the sector seems to be more on the government’s radar these days,” Todd Birkhan says. “There needs to be strong infrastructure investment quickly. The oil patch won’t wait. The government needs to invest now so that the province can continue to reap the rewards of this growing sector.” Meanwhile, the MIT continues to meet with oil industry representatives on a regular basis. “Last year’s summer flood has had a serious impact on MIT’s progress, as well as the oil industry’s progress,” says Weatherburn. “We are aware of their highway and bridge priorities and have tailored our capital program to address their most urgent needs.” With infrastructure money available and an open relationship already established between government and industry, it would appear that Manitoba’s oil-patch roads are well on their way to getting their much-needed improvements. One can only hope that Mother Nature decides to stay out of the picture, at least for some time to come. u

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Leading the Curve

University of Manitoba’s Centre for Oil and Gas Research and Development Awarded $2.4 Million in Federal Funding By Jillian Mitchell

Dr. Gregg Tomy

The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.


nvironmental sustainability is the spirit behind the University of Manitoba’s (U of M) newly developed Centre for Oil and Gas Research and Development (COGRaD), an internationally-accredited analytical centre in envi-



ronmental monitoring and remediation services. For its commitment to sustainability, the centre was recently awarded $2.4 million in federal funding. Co-founded by university professors Dr. Gregg Tomy and Dr. Jörg Stetefeld,


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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Dr. Jörg Stetefeld

the centre will further the advancement of industry and government-mandated environmental monitoring obligations, while conducting innovative research and development (R&D) mutually beneficial to the industry and COGRaD. “To our knowledge there are no facilities in western Canada that incorporate both monitoring and R&D into their activity architecture,” says Dr. Tomy, a trained analytical environmental mass spectrometrist formerly employed with Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. “COGRaD’s sustained R&D activities will develop significant

new technologies and methods resulting in faster and cheaper analytical monitoring costs and will help ensure the sustainable development of oil and gas in Western Canada.” In full support of the COGRaD initiative is The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “One of the nice features of this project is that it leverages significant industry support,” Rempel says. “U of M has always had capacity in chemistry, in biology and at the intersection of those two disciplines. It’s really about taking that existing capacity in Winnipeg and the U of M and then building on that for an industry that is an anchor in Western Canada.” In addition to the development of new tools and technologies, highly qualified personnel trained at COGRaD on R&D projects is the value that COGRaD expects to bring to western Canada. “It is envisaged that much of this technological development will result in the implementation of new methodologies by private analytical laboratories in western Canada,” says Dr. Stetefeld, professor of Biochemistry at U of M and Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology, “leading to the creation of new employment opportunities and ultimately a diversification of the economy in the West.” Collaboration with the private sector is top of mind with the COGRaD initiative. The centre will actively liaise with private laboratories and oil and gas companies in western Canada with the goal of creating a dynamic and enriching scientific environment that invests in monitoring and R&D activities. “By engaging in some environmental monitoring activities, COGraD will remain experts in current methodologies and therefore well-positioned to create new frontiers in future analytical approaches,” Dr. Tomy adds. “Further, COGRaD’s significant R&D activities will enable private laboratories to expand into new analytical frontiers currently unexplored and also provide the oil and gas industry with new tools for bioremediation.” Three partners have joined with COGRaD on the initiative: Axys Analytical Services Ltd., a highly regarded private

analytical laboratory in western Canada; Maxxam Analytical, a well-respected analytical laboratory; and Stantec Consulting Ltd., a top consulting firm with North American and international reach. Stantec senior scientist Dr. Vince Palace offers insight into the partnership. “We’re trying to work as a conduit, and we are advising COGRaD on the data gaps that could be addressed by their centre,” he says. “It’s an ongoing partnership, and we’re collaborating with the university on a number of different fronts.”

For Drs. Tomy and Stetefeld, the partnerships are integral to the centre’s future successes. “Together, these three industrial partners, including scientific members of COGRaD, will work together to define and scope out R&D projects, led by undergraduate and graduate students, that are mutually beneficial and of interest to all parties,” adds Dr. Stetefeld. “It is anticipated that this synergy will lead to technological developments that promote and lead to a sustainable future.” u

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2014 Flood Causes Shutdowns and Delays for Manitoba’s Oil Sector By Lisa Fattori

Photos courtesy of the Government of Manitoba


ast year’s flooding in southwestern Manitoba had an impact on oil producers, who had to scale back operations until August. Torrential rains on the Canada Day weekend, combined with what was already a very wet season, caused waterways to swell and overflow, particularly in the RMs of Pipestone and Wallace, and the Municipality of Two Borders. While the Province was quick to respond to more seriously affected areas, the sheer volume of compromised roads and bridges created delays in repair work, which limit-

ed accessibility and the opportunity for oil producers to get their product to market. Manitoba Mineral Resources estimates that the 2014 flood event cost the province over $70 million to repair roads and bridges and approximately $20 million to oil producers in lost revenue. “In July, between Pipestone and Melita, it looked like a lake, which forced oil producers to delay their drilling programs, and to focus on drilling in areas that weren’t as impacted, such as the Virden and Manson Fields,” says Keith Lowdon, Director of the Petro- | email:

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

leum Branch for Manitoba Mineral Resources. “I was amazed, however, at how much they did drill. In 2013, there were 530 wells drilled and in 2014 that number was 464. That’s pretty impressive, when you consider that, at the same, time, the price of oil was in decline.” Tundra Oil and Gas Ltd., the largest oil company in the province’s southwestern oil play, with 2,000 wells, had 90 per cent of its production shut down because of the flood. The company lost approximately 200 drilling days in 2014, with additional delays in transporting oil from tanks and batteries because of impassable roads. As with many other oil producers in the area, the company is taking a wait-and-see position in deciding when to resume drilling, following spring break-up this year. “There is a lot of moisture in the ground, so we’re expecting a tough spring break-up period,” says Ken Neufeld, President and CEO of Tundra Oil and Gas Ltd. “We usually go in mid-June, but we’re anticipating that we’ll be delayed in 2015. We’ll watch conditions and postpone drilling if need

Photos courtesy of the Government of Manitoba

be, particularly with the price of oil where it is right now.” Melita Resources Ltd., with 16 wells in the Pierson Field, also experienced severe disruptions and had to scale back operations by 60 per cent. The small oil company trucks all of its product to market, and didn’t resume full operations until October. The 2014 flood event and inability to transport oil cost the company a significant amount per day in lost revenue. “The biggest issue, by far, is the condition of municipal roads,” says Greg Barrows, President of Melita Resources Ltd. “A lot of the roads are in marginal condition to start with, and when you add all of that rain, it just amplifies the problem. These roads were never designed for heavy truck traffic, so most are in poor condition. The government needs to take some of its tax revenue and re-invest in infrastructure. You can’t fix every road, but there are critical routes that need to be funded.” In the aftermath of the flood, representatives from Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation met with stakeholders in Melitia to hear concerns and to identify critical areas in need of repair and rehabilitation. Key transportation routes damaged by flooding are still under construction, including three provincial bridges on Highway 83, between Virden and Reston. The lifelines of the oil industry, including Highways 256, 83 and 2, were also given top priority. The 2014 flooding event coincided with the amalgamation of the RMs of Edward, Albert and Arthur into the Municipality of Two Borders, which created additional challenges in managing infrastructure repairs. An estimated 300 sites across the Municipality required repairs, with approximately 70 per cent complete to date. Total cost is estimated at $15 to $20 million, with the Municipality paying $5,000

deductible, as well as any mitigation deemed feasible. Recent changes to the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, increase Manitoba’s trigger for federal disaster assistance from $6.5 million to $20 million, which will seriously impact the ability of the province’s municipalities to cover flood costs, including road repairs. “In 2013, we had two separate flood events that wouldn’t even come close to that, and an $18 million flood would be devastating,” says Debbie McMechan, Reeve of the Municipality of Two Borders. “The federal government’s idea is to invest in flood mitigation rather than just throw money at flood relief, but there’s no way a municipality can cover those costs.” In addition, municipalities are contending with repair projects that may not receive approval by government hired engineers who assess applications for Disaster Financial Assistance. “We didn’t receive our report from the engineer until November, which really put us behind the eight ball,” McMechan says. “In the meantime, we went ahead and made some repairs, just so we could get the oil companies moving. The Province has to look at drainage issues and invest more in infrastructure. How long can we expect these oil companies to invest here? 2014 was a big wake-up call for everybody.” Annual flooding events since 2011 have given Manitoba oil companies experience in minimizing damage and they are becoming more proactive in protecting their assets. Selecting well sites that are not in low-lying areas and constructing berms to shield infrastructure are a sampling of flood mitigation measures. Well sites situated in low-lying areas are shut down in winter so equipment doesn’t get damaged when water freezes around the well head. While these measures may reduce

damage during routine spring break-up, industry, municipalities and the Province are increasingly looking at what may be contributing to major flooding, including drainage practices in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In August, 2014, the province announced that it would provide an initial contribution of $50,000 toward the startup activities of the new Assiniboine River Basin Commission, which is a grassroots initiative to find solutions and strategies for fighting floods. The group is modeled after the Red River Basin Commission and will encourage improved dialogue among a broad range of stakeholders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. In addition, Manitoba Conservation and Manitoba Mineral Resources are participating in a study with other partners to better understand the impact of extreme weather events on the energy industry. Expected to be completed in 2016, the study will examine the risks of climate extremes to the energy sector and will explore possible adaptation strategies. New flood mitigation policies will help to extend what has become a shortened drilling season, providing best practices to preserve the province’s oil industry and to attract new investment in the sector. “You want to go to an environment where your capital is treated well,” Barrows says. “In the past, we’ve always had a drilling program in July, but this year we expect to see a longer break-up and will wait until August or September to get past the flood season. The risks are far too great; a flood event can add another $200,000 to your costs. We’ll probably see a lot fewer wells being drilled. Service companies will also hurt, and they’ll have a hard time keeping a skilled workforce, when they won’t need as many full-time employees.” u Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Primed and Ready

Manitoba’s Oil Patch Communities are Weathering Low Oil Prices and Ready with Services as the Cycle Moves Upward

By Kelly Gray


ast February the barrel price for Manitoba’s Light Sour Blend crude oil was standing around $104. By December, the price had tumbled to $56.10 in a rollback that has temporarily put a bit of a chill on the province’s oil boom. Now, companies are playing it safe and working to keep costs down while they wait for the

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commodity prices to climb back. Towns and municipalities are holding their collective breath as they wait for the industry to get back to full production. When they do, communities are ready with a full package of services to keep Manitoba’s oil and gas sector primed. In Virden, a major centre in the prov-

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ince’s 50,000 barrel a day industry, they are still seeing growth, albeit at a slower rate. A town of 3,110 people that saw Manitoba’s first well in 1951, Virden is considered to the capital city of the province’s oil patch. According to the town’s Economic Development Manager, Ed Brethour, in addition to the exploration and development of new or expanded oil fields, some of the older fields are being re-drilled using more efficient recovery methods, such as horizontal drilling and fracturing. As a result, the activity is creating business for support services in town. “Food and accommodation appear to be up, and we’ve had several inquiries from people interested in hotel development,” Brethour says. As well, he points out other secondary developments in the future, such as the proposed pipeline from Cromer, Manitoba to Moosomin, Saskatchewan, will generate

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continued growth for the region. “This will be good for business too,” he says, adding that the town has seen gains in commercial space development with a new 33,000-square-foot Co-op store opening this coming summer and a proposed new 25,000-square-foot Home Hardware in the

planning stages. “And it looks like we are getting a new Boston Pizza and a new car dealership, with construction to start on these projects in the early spring.” Closer to the US border is Waskada, where Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Diane Woodworth is seeing a bit of a slow-




down, though in the face of prior expansion in the town of 183 people. “If we were talking six months ago, we would have discussed the influx of contractors in the area. For example, Spider Electric, an Albertabased company with sites throughout the west, has a new shop in town, and there’s a


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new waste-processing facility just south of us,” she says, adding that both Penn West and EOG Resources (just purchased by Tundra) are present in Waskada. She reports that winter drilling in the area has been inactive since 2013 and companies

are doing away with some of the old, underperforming vertical wells in favour of new horizontal techniques. Woodworth notes the oil and gas boom has been good for Waskada infrastructure. “We have been able to spend roughly

$250,000 a year to upgrade the roads in town. We only have 11 streets, but they are in great shape thanks to the increase in revenue,” she says, commenting that the village of Waskada might be small, but it is fully serviced with everything from a credit union to a hairdresser to a full-service hotel. They even have a Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) location that doubles as the community liquor store. Near Waskada sits the RM of Deloraine Winchester. This newly amalgamated rural municipality (RM) has been able to piggyback on the economics of its neighbour. For instance, when crews can’t find lodging in Waskada, they make the drive to Deloraine, where a new hotel is making the journey even more worthwhile. However, Deloraine Winchester’s Economic Development Officer (EDO) Liza Parks suggests things have slowed considerably. “Tundra bought EOG and some of the local guys were laid off. This impacted the local economy a bit,” she says, reporting Tundra continues to maintain an office in the community.

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In the RM of Pipestone, in the heart of the Manitoba oil country, Manager of Economic Development Tanis Chalmers reports there continues to be interest in the area despite the downturn in the barrel price. “People are looking to the future. The view is the pricing is part of a cycle and you have to be prepared once things begin to move upward.” Pipestone has seen Tundra build a new rail terminal and Enbridge build new holding tanks. Sparling Services has also ramped up its trucking capability in the RM. And Pipestone has been the recipient of good revenues from its position in the oil patch. For example, there is now a rural water pipeline. ”With this project, farm properties have been given the option to hook-up,” Chalmers says. In addition, the RM has been able to offer incentive grants of $32,000 for new business and grants of between $4,000 and $6,000 for people to relocate to the area. They are also promoting residential town lots for just $10. “All of these things are made possible through oil revenue.” In Boissevain, Economic Development Officer Dale Banman reports his community is not a big player in the oil and gas sector but does receive benefit. The town is home to a well-serviced hospital, a new library, and a new 16,000-square-foot Coop and a new farm supply store. Banman notes that they just opened a 40-acre industrial park, a site he sees as a perfect location for oil and gas-related companies to set up shop. “We are principally an agricultural area, but people in the oil patch look to us as a great place to live that is close to the U.S. border and the centres of activity in oil and gas,” he says, adding that it’s just 15 minutes from Boissevain to the nearest well. In Pierson, former CAO of Edwards Municipality Lisa Pierce suggests the lower barrel price has had an impact on the town as well as the municipality, which will undergo amalgamation and become known as Two Borders this spring. “Some people have lost their jobs as companies have repositioned,” she says. “Tundra is still building and appears to be moving

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forward despite the low prices. However, some smaller firms have pulled back. They were planning 30 wells, but I don’t see this happening in this economic environment.” Pierce reports that the town has seen some recent commercial gains. For example, there is a new car and truck wash, a new machine shop is being built and a new plumbing shop is in the works. “The old foundry has become a trucking operation with Forsyth Trucking taking over. The school is also finding more enrollments, with 20 to 30 new students each year,” she says, noting that just 10 years

ago, they thought the school would have to close because of low enrollment. “When the barrel price picks up, we will be ready to fully pursue the economic options,” she says. In Melita, Mayor Bill Holden has seen a definite slowdown in the community of more than 1,000 people located close to the U.S. and Saskatchewan borders. “This time last year there was a zero vacancy rate and houses were selling well. This year, Civeo’s 250-man camp is shuttered for the time being until things pick up,” he says, commenting that they have seen this all before. In Melita, it’s more of

a steady state of development, where the boom-and-bust cycles are taken in stride. “We are working on our industrial park and others in the community are looking to the future. Thanks to the increase in services, like hotel refurbishment and development, we’re in a great position to take full advantage once the price of oil picks up,” he says, echoing the comments of others in Manitoba’s oil patch who conclude that while Manitoba is the junior partner in western oil and gas production, they are majors when it comes to small-town services and hospitality. u

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Explore the Opportunities

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By Sandy Trudel, Director of Economic Development, City of Brandon


the city. Today they are benefiting from close proximity to the oil fields while their employees and families enjoy the amenities and the quality of life available in an urban centre of nearly 50,000 people. Brandon benefits from many positive locational factors including: • A one-hour drive to the field

randon’s proximity to southwest Manitoba’s oil fields makes us close enough to be home, especially with WestJet’s daily direct flights to and from Calgary. Trican Well Service, Interra Energy, Evolve Surface Strategies, and Hydrodig recognized Brandon’s locational advantages and set up operations in























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• F ull-service urban centre • A skilled and semi-skilled workforce of 32,000 • Assiniboine Community College’s oilfield safety certification training • Excellent transportation infrastructure for ground and rail movement of materials east-west and north-south • Reliable supply of affordable electricity and natural gas • Available industrial land, both serviced and unserviced • A state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility and potable water supply Located only an hour’s drive from the Bakken, oil drilling and production are driving significant growth throughout Brandon’s economy. Local consulting firms, contractors, manufacturers, and trucking firms have adapted their business model to meet the needs of the nearby


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oil industry, demonstrating Brandon’s business community’s ability to embrace the opportunities presented. Assiniboine Community College will offer oilfield safety certification starting in spring 2015. Course offerings in Brandon include Well

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a business development conference and expo in February 2015. The event provided attendees with an update on the state of the oil sector and focused on how to identify and act on business opportunities. Brandon and southwest Manitoba look forward to the economic activity that will undoubtedly result from this informative event. Manitoba’s second largest city, Brandon boasts amenities, services, educational and employment opportunities generally found in much larger centres. As a medical referral centre for Southwestern Manitoba, the medical services available in Brandon are extensive. For non-teaching hospitals in Manitoba, Brandon Regional Health Center offers the widest range of specialized services. A low crime rate, a wide variety of housing choices, educational excellence, and abundant recreation and cultural opportunities create an enviable quality of life for residents. Brandon is consistently ranked in the top 10 as one of the best places to live in Canada. Brandon is a sports-oriented city full of top-notch recreation facilities offering multiple golf courses, skiing, soccer, equestrian sports and everything in between. Multiple indoor fitness centres offering a full range of services and equipment as well as personalized trainers are found

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throughout the city. Several racquetball and squash courts, an outdoor and indoor running track and numerous indoor and outdoor swimming pools and waterslides are readily available in the city. For those who are a little more adventurous, there are a variety of challenging recreational opportunities offered in Brandon, including pilot lessons, parachute jumping and rock climbing walls, to name a few. With the Assiniboine River winding 17 kilometres through the heart of Brandon

and 44 kilometres of paved walking and hiking trails, the city is an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and cycling are extremely popular in Brandon and the nearby Brandon Hills. Brandon offers a nice mix of man-made and natural scenic trails perfect for walking, hiking, biking, rollerblading, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing. Cottage country is as close as 25 minutes. The city is home to diverse art and cultural offerings, featuring visual exhib-


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its, drama and musical performances in a variety of genres. A diverse offering of concerts and performances are available at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium. The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba features national and international exhibitions and works by regional

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Oil Field Service Companies Look to Brandon for New Opportunities

photo courtesy of Economic Development Brandon

By Lisa Fattori


ocated within an hour of the Bakken formation in southwestern Manitoba, Brandon is a service hub for the province’s burgeoning oil and gas industry. As the province’s second largest city, Brandon provides services to more than 180,000 people living within the city and in neighbouring rural communities. The city’s central location, wealth of amenities,

economic diversity and readily available workforce make Brandon the ideal place to open new businesses and establish satellite offices in delivering products and services to local oil producers. An increase in field support services will foster continued growth of the resources sector and the success of more than three dozen oil companies in the region.

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“There are 14 oil patches within 160 kilometres of Brandon and six are within an hour’s drive of the city,” says Sandy Trudel, Director of Economic Development for the City of Brandon. “The oil services sector is one of Brandon’s targeted sectors for growth and is an important part of creating a vibrant, diversified economy. Brandon is the service centre for the whole southwest Manitoba region, providing easy access to entertainment, retail and medical services.

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The economies of the city and rural area surrounding Brandon are so intertwined. Brandon wins when the entire region is strong.” According to the 2013-2014 Annual Report of Manitoba Mineral Resources, since 2009, Manitoba’s oil production has increased 200 per cent to approximately 52,653 barrels of oil per day. While Brandon’s main industries have been in the field of agri-food products and services, as well as the manufacturing of metals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, new companies have established offices in Brandon specifically to service the oil industry. In addition, existing companies, which traditionally have serviced the agricultural sector, have expanded and modified their operations to meet the needs of the oil industry, which further diversifies the local economy and adds another level of expertise. “A number of our existing businesses, including Cancade Company and Atom Jet Group, are meeting needs of the nearby oil patch,” Trudel says. “The oil sector has enabled them to take their core strengths and adapt processes to take advantage of new opportunities. This diversification increases stability in the economy, which is important to maintaining and growing the population.” New entrants to the local oil services market include Trican Well Service, who has been operating in Brandon since 2012.

In September 2013, the company opened a new 23,000-square-foot facility, from which it offers fracturing and cementing products and services to the upstream oil and gas industry. Evolve Surface Strategies, Apex Distribution and Hydrodig have all set up offices in Brandon, hiring locally and expanding the base of oilfield support services for the region. Calgary-based Interra Energy Services Ltd. opened a Brandon office in 2011 to be closer to Manitoba’s oilfields, as well as Saskatchewan and the U.S. Bakken oil play. Specializing in the design and instal-

lation of horizontal completions technologies, the company has installed more than 17,000 individual Interra tools in over 750 wells, offering a 99 per cent operating efficiency. Approximately half of Interra’s business has been in Manitoba, with another 30 per cent of customers in western Saskatchewan and the remaining 20 per cent of business in Alberta and the U.S. “The proximity to our clients and the infrastructure in Brandon was the best fit for our business.” says Will Gardner, Business Development Manager for Interra Energy Services Ltd. “We were looking to expand

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


into areas that weren’t being served by bigbox operators. We can provide customization at every step and have the tools to stimulate reservoirs, for a quicker return on investment. From Brandon, we can deploy tools and staff to our customers operating within the region. It enables us to be very mobile and efficient.” Synergy Land Services Ltd. has also expanded operations into Manitoba, with the opening of a Brandon office in 2012. Since that time, the company has moved offices twice and has doubled its staff. As a full-service land broker, Synergy Land Services was introduced to the Manitoba market by servicing a pipeline project that ran from Saskatchewan to Manitoba, and from there to the U.S. The company currently services Manitoba oil clients and crown corporations, handing mineral leasing and surface leasing in the oil field, easements, crossing agreements, the procurement of temporary work space for construction projects, and landowner/ stakeholder relations.

Although Manitoba has had an active oil industry since the 1950s, the recent boom in the province’s southwestern oil patch has increased opportunities for businesses specializing in land broker services. “One of the challenges in Manitoba is that not a lot of people know, outside of the oil industry, what a land agent is or have never dealt with one before,” says Gerry Davis, Brandon Branch Manager for Synergy Land Services Ltd. “In the past, people have just dealt with leasing agreements on their own. Minerals rights in Manitoba are 80 per cent privately-owned, so the area is a very good environment for our services. Part of my role as a land agent is developing new business. In December, we moved to a new location at 13th and Richmond, which gives us better office space and a lot more exposure.” On the east side of Virden, GCS Energy Services Ltd. looks to Brandon for major urban amenities and has the bulk of its Manitoba workforce from the Brandon/ Virden area. The industrial contracting

company is headquartered in Hardisty, Alberta, and has another branch in Red Deer. GCS Energy Services opened its Virden branch in 2010, following completed projects for Enbridge and construction work on new pump stations for TransCanada in Saskatchewan, as well as Crandall and Wellwood in Manitoba. The first terminal expansion at Tundra Energy Marketing was also taken on then. Major projects include another 2012 terminal expansion for Tundra Energy Marketing Limited, the Steeleman pump station facility and the Enbridge Cromer Terminal Bakken tie-in, which was part of the Bakken expansion. “We were doing a lot of work in Manitoba, so it was a natural progression to set up an office in Virden,” says Jim Moser, Operations Manager for GCS Energy Services Ltd. “We service southeastern Saskatchewan, and all of Manitoba, with most of our work in the Bakken and along the Enbridge pipeline corridor. When we started up the business here in Virden, I had the support of a large company behind me.

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

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GCS has experience working with large organizations, and has current equipment, quality control, a great safety record, and support that we can offer to major oil producers in Manitoba.” For oil companies, GCS Energy Services provides remediation services, as well as lease building and road building. The company also does and lot of road construction and repairs for the RM of Wallace. The Virden office employs approximately 40 semi-permanent employees, and for larger projects in the summer, the workforce increases to 80 to 120 people. The influx of oil service companies in and around Brandon coincides with plans for a transload facility that will offer improved logistics for both oil producers and their suppliers. In 2012, Western Asphalt Products opened its first asphalt emulsion terminal in Brandon to provide emulsion products to provincial and municipal road builders, and it opened a second terminal in Bruderheim, Alberta a year later. Both facilities are strategically located close to CP and CN rail lines, which enables Western Asphalt to expand operations to include transload services. Due to the steaming capabilities of the company’s asphalt emulsion terminals, products such as caustic soda, heavy crude, sulfur and asphalt can be heated prior to unloading materials into a tank truck or rented tank space. The Brandon transload facility will also accommodate the transloading of other bulk commodities and oil patch supplies, such as cement powder, frac sand, hydrochloric acid, piping and equipment. “The main reason we wanted to open a transload facility was to bring in raw materials for our emulsions business,” says Adam Mahaney, General Manager for Western Asphalt Products in Brandon. “We saw the opportunity to provide yearround transload service for the agricultural and oil and gas sectors as well. Right now, materials are being trucked in from Winnipeg and Regina, but rail is much more cost-effective. In Brandon, we’re close to the oil activity, so there is a real advantage in having a transload facility located here.” The transload facility will be situated

on a 70-acre parcel of land adjacent to the asphalt emulsion terminal. The first phase of the project will see the construction of three separate tracks to accommodate more than 120 cars on site. Infrastructure will include warehousing facilities to store materials that need to be protected from the elements, as well as storage tanks for liquid products. Engineering work is now complete, with construction expected to begin as early as this spring. Western Asphalt Products is currently finalizing

multi-year contracts with customers and is fine-tuning the design of warehouse facilities to meet their specific needs. “We’ve had a lot of interest from oil companies and those businesses that service the oil industry,” Mahaney says. “Ten years ago, there wasn’t enough demand for transload services, but Brandon is a booming town right now. Our company had 30 per cent more business last year than the year before, so we’re seeing a lot of growth.” u

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Five Reasons Why

Brandon Won Over WestJet By Jillian Mitchell


anitoba’s second-largest centre welcomed WestJet’s Encore daily service to/from Calgary in September 2013. Just over a year later, the relationship between Brandon and the Calgary-based carrier has resulted in a very public win-win. Recently Manitoba Oil & Gas Review was afforded the inside scoop behind the airline’s route expansion to the Wheat City, and what that means for residents of the Westman area.

the West and a close proximity to the burgeoning oil patch. “We are the second-largest city in the province, and it’s only fitting that we have a regularly scheduled passenger service,” says Sandy Trudel, director of economic development for the City of Brandon, who cites the air service as a critical component in the city’s economic development strategy. “Brandon is fortunate to have a diversified economy that leads to stability and opportunity.”

#1 A Growing Economy

#2 Strong Community Demand

Twice voted as a MoneySense top-ten city to live in Canada, Brandon is a recognized business and leisure hub with a growing population of 46,000 (52,000 including surrounding area), a strong GDP, rising incomes and a low unemployment rate. Contributing to its diverse economic portfolio, the city offers post-secondary education, Canadian Forces Base Shilo, local business with strong connections to

A whopping 10,000 signatures were collected for Brandon’s initial online petition to attract the airline, and as Trudel shares, local and regional support has remained strong. “Community demand was very loud and very clear,” says Trudel. “We knew intrinsically that there was sufficient ridership to sustain regularly scheduled passenger service.”


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

According to Trudel, personal, recreational and business demand called for ease of access and connectivity, whether with loved ones, suppliers, customers or colleagues located elsewhere. Prior to September 2013, Westman residents traveling nationally or internationally were required to travel two or three hours to Winnipeg or Regina for airline connections. Removing this barrier adds to the city’s business attraction, retention and growth, says Trudel. “The competition in Canada’s labour force is fierce, so in order for a smaller urban centre like Brandon to compete, we really needed to remove the barrier of air travel,” she says. As Trudel adds, the new air service is seeing much success to date. “It’s been spectacular,” she says. “Loyalty and ridership is strong.”

#3 A New Aircraft According to Trudel, the stage was set many years ago for a full-service airline in Brandon. In actual fact, regularly scheduled air service was available in the 1980s as a federally mandated regional service and boasted strong passenger counts. The mandate was later discontinued, and airlines opted to allot resources toward major routes instead of secondary routes like Brandon’s. Future air service, however, was predominantly contingent on the introduction of a new aircraft to market, one comparable to that introduced by WestJet in 2013 for its Encore service: a 78-passenger Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft. As Trudel reveals, the introduc-

tion of the new aircraft prompted WestJet’s expansion into secondary routes as the new aircraft was size-appropriate. Brandon joins a long list of WestJet Encore connections alongside 20 Canadian cities, including Nanaimo, BC; Fort McMurray, AB; Grande Prairie, AB; Thunder Bay, ON; Quebec City, QC; and Fredericton, NB.

#4 Shared Values Successful partnerships stem from likeminded values. And as Trudel shares, WestJet and the city of Brandon make the perfect team. “WestJet is a fabulous company to work with in a partnership. Their brand is very strong and it’s family-oriented, which really is in keeping with how Western Manitoba functions,” she says. “There was an alignment there, and we made a concerted effort between the city and WestJet to function as a team.” Trudel elaborates on the win-win partnership between WestJet and the city. “We want the same things – Brandon wants

growth and prosperity. WestJet wants the city to grow because with growth comes increased ridership; we want WestJet to grow because that means more travel options for Westman residents.”

#5 Airport Revamp for 2016 An increase in airport traffic more often results in the need for revamped offerings, services and infrastructure. As such, funding to the tune of $8.8 million is in place to upgrade Brandon’s airport infrastructure. The design work is currently being completed in order to issue a work tender.

Anticipated completion for the redevelopment is late-2016. Upon completion, the upgrade will more than double the size of airport and address eight key restraints that currently exist: sterile room capacity, lack of washroom facilities in sterile area, lack of concession activity at the Airport, outbound baggage processing, general terminal alignment and passenger flow, incoming baggage processing, proximity of baggage pick-up to check-in, and general issues and updating of mechanical systems. u

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Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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Redvers & District Oil Showcase Giving Back

Leta Brisebois, Redvers Oil Showcase Committee presenting to Amber Sylvestre, Artemis Dance Instructor.


ur fifth Redvers & District Oil Showcase was held on May 8th and 9th, 2014 and was a great success, with 1,500 people attending! Our show was sold out and included over 150 indoor and outdoor booths that highlighted the best of what the oil and gas industry and our region has to offer. The keynote speaker was Tim McMillan, MLA in charge of Energy & Resources, who spoke to a sold-out supper crowd. With the continued success over the last five shows, the Redvers & District Oil Showcase has been able to make substantial contributions to organizations in our region. Prior to 2014, the oil show was able to make donations upwards of $60,000 over a period of seven years to non-profit organizations in Redvers. These donations would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the countless number of volunteers who work tirelessly and the commitment of our gold sponsors and those

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

sponsors that go above and beyond to ensure that our oil show goes forward despite the elements that can make our show a little muddy. After a successful 2014 show, we were able to donate over $40,000 to organizations in six different communities in the region. These organizations are all community-based organizations dedicated to the continued advancement and development of our region and the betterment of children and families who call our area home. Many of these organizations were hit hard by the flooding that took place during the summer of 2014, and we were encouraged by the resilience and hard work of all the dedicated volunteers who responded and continue to rebuild their communities. • Redvers Arts Centre: $10,000 to help rebuild their building following the flood that condemned their building • Carievale Hall Auxiliary: $5,000 to renovate their flooded basement • Carnduff Theatre: $5,000 to renovate the stage and redo the lighting • Ecole de Bellegarde: $4,000 to bring SMART Boards® into their classrooms • Redvers Activity Centre: $3,000 to upgrade their computer system • Redvers Early Learning & Child Care Centre: $2,500 to upgrade their sprinkler system • Gainsborough Community Theatre: $2,500 to install new front doors for their building • Redvers Golf Course: $2,000 to assist with their new clubhouse • Envision Counselling – Oxbow: $2,000 to bring a family and women’s counselling centre to Oxbow • Carievale Rink: $1,000 to sponsor their ice plant upgrade • Redvers Fire & Rescue: $1,000 to facilitate the new fire hall The location of Redvers – in southeast Saskatchewan and close to southwest Manitoba and the play in North Dakota – makes it the perfect location to showcase existing and upcoming technologies for the oilfield and related industries. The Oil Showcase will have items and exhibits of interest from company officers, engineers, consultants, drillers, land people, and many others who work in the oil industry. The next Redvers & District Oil Showcase will be held May 12th and 13th, 2016, with registrations currently being accepted. With space limited and the show regularly selling out early, don’t miss your chance to be an exhibitor and contact the show’s office!

Alicia Stewart, Redvers Rec Director; Marc Wolensky, Redvers & District Oil Showcase.

Jasmin Carlton, Redvers Oil Showcase Committee; Brian LeNouail, Redvers Oil Showcase Committee; Graham James, Redvers Arts Centre Committee; Alisa Powers, Redvers Arts Centre Committee.

The tentative schedule is as follows: Wednesday • Set up for exhibitors all day Thursday • Morning: set up for exhibitors • Noon – 4:00 p.m.: show open to the public • 5:00 p.m.: cocktails at the banquet • 6:00 p.m.: supper • 7:00 p.m.: keynote speaker Friday • Show open to the public from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The committee would like to thank all of those sponsors and volunteers who helped to make the 2014 event a success, and we look forward to seeing you in May 2016.

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To be a sponsor or to request a booth at the next show being held Thursday, May 12, 2016 and Friday, May 13, 2016, please contact the Redvers and District Oil Showcase Committee at 306-452-3225 or email You can also visit us online at or on Facebook. u

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The 24th Williston Basin Petroleum Conference & Expo by Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council


his year will mark the 23rd year that North Dakota has partnered with Saskatchewan to host the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference (WBPC). The states and provinces within the Basin have seen many changes since then. In fact, we’ve seen changes since just last year when the conference was held in Bismarck. These changes, however, are neither new nor insurmountable. The WBPC began as a hydraulic fractur-

ing symposium and explored the technologies that have since unlocked the Bakken, defining our region as a top energy producer in the world. This is a feat that just a little more than a decade ago may not have seen plausible because, at that time, the Bakken was still considered uneconomic to produce. The relentless work of industry pioneers, however, led to the innovation and combinations of technologies that have since made the Bakken shale play a

world-class resource. The conference has evolved since then to focus on more efficient oil drilling and completion methods that are helping us recover more resource from the Williston Basin. For several years, the Williston Basin has enjoyed growth and prosperity, helping move the U.S. toward more energy security and North Dakota into economic stability. The importance of this region to our nations is aptly summed up in this


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year’s conference motto: One Basin Fueling Two Nations. Our success in increasing production, however, does not come without its challenges. Over the past few months we have seen the economics in the Bakken change, but the fact that the Williston Basin contains a vast reserve of oil has not. This knowledge has driven industry giants to find new ways to extract that resource in the past, and no doubt it will drive others to find better, more effective, more efficient and less expensive ways of recovering it. Today, our industry’s best and brightest must now find ways to make the economics work if we wish to continue on our paths to becoming energy super powers. If that first conference taught us anything, however, it is that our industry has the talent, innovation, knowledge and skill to find new and better ways to develop our natural resources, and this year’s WBPC could very well be where the seed for the next big technology or efficiency may very well be planted. We want to thank the Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy and Petroleum Technology Research Centre for organizing this year’s conference. Putting together a world-class conference of this magnitude during even good times is not easy, and during tough times, it presents more difficulties. Regardless, these industry partners continue to outdo themselves, and we consider this year’s conference – just like past years – to be a worthwhile investment. We also want to thank this year’s participants and sponsors. We recognize that there are many shows each year focused on the oil and gas industry, but your continued support ensures that we can continue the WBPC and its reputation as one of the best and biggest conferences dedicated to the Bakken and shale plays overall. A few years back, the motto for the WBPC was “The best is yet to come.” We still believe that’s true. We look forward to the discussions that will grow out of the 23rd Annual WBPC and continue the momentum we have seen in the Williston Basin well into 2016 and beyond. u

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Safety and Health in the Oil Fields:

Managing Risk By Melanie Franner

The workforce in the oil and gas industry has to be up to a certain standard.” According to Kramer, the time-loss injury rate for the oil and gas industry in 2013 was 1.9. This compares to manufacturing at 4.4 and construction at 5.5. Fatalities, he adds, is another lagging measurement of safety, and is proportionately lower in the industry – approximately three per cent in the oil and gas sector (which includes oil wells, mining and quarrying) from 2000 to 2013. This three per cent represents a total of seven fatalities over the 13year period. In construction, the numbers are 18 per cent and 48 respectively. In agriculture, they are 26 and 70.

Provincial Standards


umbers from the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Manitoba show a definite increase in the number of time loss and no time-loss injuries that occurred in the oil fields over the past few years. In 2010, the total for the two categories combined was 47. By 2014, that number had risen to 83. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The 83 total injuries reported in 2014 were less than the 101 reported in 2013 and the 89 in 2012. Plus, one has to take into account the growth of the sector itself. Since 2010, payroll in the province’s oil and gas sector has more than doubled – from $60 million to $148 million annually. So is safety still an issue? Well, there were two fatalities in 2010 and one in 2014. And any time-loss injury can be considered to be one injury too many.

The Bigger Picture “There is a tremendous amount of training and awareness in the oil and gas industry in terms of recognition and control of hazards,” says David Kramer, Portfolio Leader for Production with SAFE Work Manitoba. “When you compare it to other sectors and their respective time-loss injury statistics, you can see that their industry safety record is low compared to other industries. One of the reasons is because they invest a great deal in training and employee competency. Safety is non-negotiable.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Information from the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner states that firefighters with NFPA 1001 Firefighter Level II have the specialized training needed to deal with oil and gas incidents. This certification includes the following skills that may be necessary at an oil and gas incident: assuming command; transferring command; fire ground communications; incident report; ignitable liquid fire; assisting rescue team; coordinated fire attack; flammable gas cylinder fire; and protecting evidence. The Manitoba Emergency Services College (MESC), Office of the Fire Commissioner, certifies approximately 50 firefighters per year to the NFPA 1001 Firefighter Level II standard. Around 40 of the certifications are completed through the pre-employment program (Public Fire Paramedic Program) at the MESC. Additionally, the MESC has occasionally signed training agreements with specific oil and gas companies to provide specialized training to meet their needs. Another way for oil and gas companies to attain qualified safety people is to seek out graduates of specialized programs. Safety Source Ltd. is an example of one such organization. The locally owned and operated company is based in Virden, MB, but has a sister location in Redvers, SK. It describes itself as a “one-stop” safety shop offering supplies, service, safety training and safety consulting for all industries. “We do a lot of certification and re-certification for the oil and gas industry,” says Deanna Kowalchuk, Safety Consultant and First Aid Instructor at Safety Source, and a training medic in her own right. “I also work as a medic out on the sites and don’t see too many incidents. The most common incidents are slips, skids and falls.”

A four-year veteran with the company, Kowalchuk admits to seeing an increase in the number of students interested in pursuing accreditation in the courses pertaining to the oil fields. The most common one, she says, is H2S Alive or hydrogen sulphide, where participants learn how to protect themselves and perform basic rescue techniques. First Aid is another popular one for the oil fields. The former is a one-day course and the latter a two-day. Elite Safety Services Inc. is another company that offers safety

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


training to various industries, including the oil and gas sector. The Brandon-based company was founded in 2003 and has since established a Winnipeg office. “We offer instruction in safety courses, technical rescue and a

separate risk management division staffed by Construction Safety Officers,” says Jeff Fehr, Operation Supervisor at Elite Safety Services Inc. “In addition to our two offices, we travel across the country and go wherever our clients need us.” The company also has a confined space and fall protection training trailer that it can move to any location. According to Fehr, the company’s many safety-training courses that pertain to the oil and gas industry have proven quite popular over the years. “We were typically at 99.9 per cent maximum capacity for all of our oil-field related courses,” he says. “With the oil prices falling recently, there are probably one or two vacancies now.”

On-site Safety Personnel Dave McMullen, Vice President of the Southern Manitoba Academy for Response Training (SMART) reports that many of his graduates go on to find work in the oil fields after successfully gaining their Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Technical License. This accreditation requires 160 hours (compared to the approximately 800 hours required to become a full paramedic). Half of the hours are comprised of classroom time and half attending skill sessions to gain competency. Additionally, students are required to take a provincial (written and practical) exam within one year of completing the program. “A lot of oil companies are looking for people who are trained as either firefighters or as EMR technicians,” says McMullen. “These companies have trained individuals onsite at all times.” SMART has been in operation for eight years and is focused primarily on offering EMR Technical and Firefighter training. McMullen has been instructing for over 25 year and is presently a flight nurse for Lifeflight Air Ambulance. He has also worked with Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) Air Ambulance.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Industry Hub

Up Ahead

One reason safety is so highly regarded within the oil and gas industry is due to the hard work of industry associations. It is industry associations that have helped create standards within the sector and helped companies comply with those standards. Enform, the safety association for the upstream oil and gas industry in BC, AB and SK, for example, helped raise awareness of and made H2S Alive the standard for training in the Canadian oil and gas industry. This standard has been in place for more than a quarter of a century and over 1 million employees across Canada have been trained and certified in it. A new collaboration between Assiniboine Community College (ACC) and Enform was recently announced and will provide high-end, oilfield safety certification this spring in Brandon. Workers will have the opportunity to take regulatory required courses in Brandon rather than travelling to Estevan or Calgary. Courses being offered include blowout prevention, flammable substances and safety management. “The safety of our workers and the communities in which we operate is critical to the industry’s success,” says Cameron MacGillivray, President and CEO of Enform. “Safety is a shared value and a shared responsibility, and we look forward to mindfully improving safety in Manitoba’s growing oil and gas industry.”

The safety numbers for Manitoba’s oil and gas industry are among the lowest, especially when compared to other industries within the province. But that doesn’t mean that industry should move their focus off of the idea of continuous improvement. According to SAFE Work Manitoba’s Kramer, many of the smaller oil companies that operate within the Cameron MacGillivray, province may be encouraged to prac- President and CEO of Enform tice more stringent safety measures if provided with a financial incentive. “We currently have a certification standard tied to an incentive in the construction industry that offers a 10 per cent reduction or discount on WCB rates in the first year and five per cent for each year thereafter,” he says. “We think that every industry, including oil and gas, could benefit from certification program tied to a meaningful prevention incentive, and we are in the midst of establishing one.” With new incentives, proven training and safety programs and the continued work of organizations like Enform, it would seem that Manitoba’s oil and gas industry has what it takes to make for a safe and healthy future in the years ahead. u

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RCM Safety Services: A Higher Level of Care


CM Safety Services Ltd., a fullservice medical, rescue and fire standby company based out of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, began operations in the spring of 2012. Late in 2013, the company expanded services to also offer complete safety training. Owners Curtis and Ryan Monette sought to bring their nearly 20 years of experience as advanced life support paramedics with busy municipal EMS services to the industrial sector. With the addition of Ross Young


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

as Chief of Fire/Rescue Operations, they have assembled one of the most “real world experienced” management teams around. Ross’s background includes CRSP designation and 23 years as a municipal Firefighter, before semi-retiring as deputy chief and a fire investigator. When asked what sets RCM Safety apart from other companies, Curtis says, “Quality service backed by knowledgeable and experienced professionals. We provide higher skill sets, advanced equip-

ment and extensive work experience while still maintaining competitive and flexible pricing options. We are extremely proud of being recognized for our contributions and improvements to industrial safety and emergency services.” RCM Safety Services’ initial focus was providing primary care paramedics. These paramedics receive approximately 41 weeks of training that includes in-class theory, and hands-on ambulance and hospital emergency room practicum. This

compares to two to three weeks of in-class training for EMR or OFA 3 certification. While RCM does have EMRs available, if that is what the client wishes, there is a significant difference in procedures and treatment capabilities. Advanced care paramedics, registered nurses and physician coverage for clinics or larger scale, high-risk operations are also available. With a higher skillset offered, RCM also stocks all units with the required equipment to enable paramedics to use all the skills they are trained and licensed for. Advanced airways for non-breathing patients, intravenous access, medications to help treat various medical emergencies, and pain control for trauma are a few examples. Heart monitors are another major improvement RCM offers. While an AED is what would typically be a more common and cheaper alternative, they do not provide a paramedic the tools and information to perform their job to the fullest. RCM uses Lifepak 12 or 15 cardiac monitors – the same monitors that the majority of provincial ambulances utilize. These cardiac monitors allow staff to identify and rule out various medical conditions, in addition to other diagnostic and monitoring capabilities that an AED does not provide, resulting in faster and appropriate treatments in the field. “Another area we’re very proud of is our fleet of medical units,” says Ryan. “All of our units are full-sized 4x4 ambulances. We have set up our fleet and staff to provide the same or higher level of care to our clients as a provincial ambulance would. ”

Intercepting with the local EMS or STARS is much easier, as the equipment is identical and interchangeable. This eliminates losing valuable time transferring a patient between stretchers and equipment. All units have on-board electric suction, larger volumes of oxygen, ample space to provide treatment, power inverters, auxiliary heat and cold, and the ability to carry the supplies and space required to treat multi

ple patients at the same time. The units are also set up for rough and off-road terrain with towing capabilities for a trailer with a rescue toboggan and snowmobile/ATV/ UTV, if required. Together with a diverse management and staff, RCM Safety Services looks forward to discussing how they can be involved in your company’s health and safety solutions. u

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Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Programs Protect the Landscape

Development Without Degradation By Shel Zolkewich


n a landscape where development and habitat conservation are often at odds, the Ross Conservation Agreement is a shining example of things done right. Spearheaded by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), the project resulted in 45 individual wetlands covering more than 60 acres, along with associated grasslands, being protected in perpetuity. It also meant the Ross family benefited from the resources underground thanks to progressive efforts by Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership Ltd.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

“Wetlands are critical for a healthy landscape,” says Mark Francis, head of conservation programs for DUC in Manitoba. “Our Conservation Agreements (CA) are voluntary and made with landowners who maintain ownership. We restrict breaking and drainage of grasslands and wetlands, but allow complimentary agricultural practices such as grazing or haying.” In cases where extraction is a possibility, DUC goes one step further. “A CA is a surface right. DUC has no rights to mines or minerals, but if extrac-

tion is a possibility, we’ll work with the oil company and the landowner on ways to minimize the footprint where possible,” Francis adds. In the case of the Ross CA located south of Elkhorn, MB, Tundra Oil & Gas did the work during the winter. Instead of stripping the soil, they used wooden mats as a base for heavy equipment and modified the shape of the lease so the wetlands nearby wouldn’t be impacted. “We are happy to work with Ducks Unlimited Canada to minimize the impact

Investing in Native Plants While wetland acreage is critical, the lands that surround them are equally as important. The right land size and combination of plant materials can mean increased success in wildlife and waterfowl survival rates and an overall healthier landscape. There is a strong move afoot by reclamation agencies and, increasingly, the agricultural community to re-vegetate significant land parcels within the Canadian Prairies to return some of the land to its original roots or, at least, its original state. More than two decades ago, DUC recognized that native plants – the ones that originally populated Prairie Canada – could provide the best solution for upland management. Native Plant Solutions, a division of DUC, has established over 100,000 acres of native grass, more than any

of exploration and extraction practices in areas that hold environmentally sensitive land,” says Glenn Ross, VP Land with Tundra Oil & Gas. “As the largest oil producer in the province, we have the unique

other organization in the country. Native grass re-vegetation is not a fad; it is a common-sense effort backed by sound science. Native grasses, when properly re-introduced to a muchchanged environment, can provide the best, longest-lasting cover for erosionprone land, degraded fields, and oncebroken areas that were better suited to production of perennial grasses than annual crops. Converting uplands to native species requires a little bit of work in the beginning, including careful site preparation, weed control, seed quality selection, and proper seeding

opportunity to demonstrate to the landowner and the community that resource extraction and respect for our environment are compatible.” DUC has offered CAs since 1999 and so far, more than 29,000 acres in Manitoba are protected. Funding for these agreements – and many more DUC programs – comes from a variety of partners, including the Richardson Foundation, the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund and the National Wetland Conservation Fund. These are legal agreements that are signed in perpetuity. Francis says cash incentives are offered and even more compensation is on the table for landowners who are interested in wetland restoration in conjunction with the CA. “Current land values play a part in the calculation of a CA,” Francis says. “With the rise in land values, payments have

techniques. Farmers, ranchers, mining companies, government agencies, NGO’s, land developers, utility, and energy companies all have developed an understanding of the benefits of ensuring native grasses are incorporated into their land-use plans. Native Plant Solutions has become the go-to for companies looking for experts in native habitat restoration here on the Prairies and right across the country. For more information on DUC’s Native Plant Solutions, call 204-953-8200 or email

increased dramatically over the past few years.” In addition to CAs, DUC offers a host of other programs aimed at working with landowners to conserve and restore critical wetland and upland habitat. Among those are the forage program, wetland restoration efforts and the new Revolving Land Conservation Program (RLCP). Under the RLCP program, land is purchased, its natural function restored, the land is resold with a CA protecting the habitat, and the sale proceeds are reinvested into protecting important habitat elsewhere. “This is important, as it returns the land to the agricultural community and allows for cultivation of the most productive land, all the while maintaining protection of Manitoba’s most threatened and valuable habitats,” says Francis. u Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Altus Group Limited

Black Gold to Real Gold: Simple Steps for Project Success


he outlook for oil and gas projects may be slowing in some other parts of the country but reports have shown that over the last two years, record numbers of wells have been drilled in Southern Manitoba. Towns and communities like Brandon-Souris, Virden and Westman have benefitted the most from these new projects, resulting in a high rate of economic and population growth. It is widely acknowledged that the creation and maintenance of oil and gas projects such as pipelines and process plants drive economy and create job opportunities; however, consideration must also be given to developing and maintaining infrastructure such as roads, sewers, housing developments, schools and water developments. To receive the maximum return on your real estate investment, one should include surveys on newly acquired land, the management of property taxes, the preparation of accurate land evaluations, clear estimating of materials and effective management of new projects.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

When developing new projects in Manitoba’s oil and gas industry, consider the following: • Geomatics or geospatial technology is relatively new in scientific terms and can be invaluable at the start of any project especially at the pre-planning stages for pipeline projects and drilling programs. It is the process of gathering, processing and delivering geographical information. Using tools such as remote sensing (LiDAR), cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), global navigation satellite systems (GPS), digital mapping, remote-sensing 3D laser scanning, and complete earth mapping will give your project a strong base of data. • After initiating early-stage survey, consider land and road-use project management. Pre-construction timber management planning includes timber volume assessments, salvage planning, and operational execution plans as an essential but often over looked component of project management and budgeting. Construction and legal land sur-

veys are required as part of the planning and permitting stages, followed by asbuilt surveys after project development. Expropriation consulting may also be worth investigating. This type of consulting includes but isn’t limited to land utilization studies; highest and best use analysis; feasibility analysis; lease negotiations for unusual types of properties such as gravel pits, rights-of ways; potential fraud schemes and adverse possession problems. • A company with experience in this area means they will get it right first time and you won’t waste time mapping the wrong area or having inconsistent data. The right information also means there are fewer delays or refusals in the approval and regulatory processes ensuring your planning schedule remain on time and to budget. When working with real estate in Manitoba, appraisal should be involved with daily traditional engagements of the project, which includes valuation for acquisition, financing and disposition for a di-

The Energy industry requires a unique set of consulting services. Altus Group provides a specialized, integrated solution geared to individual clients. • Land Surveying • Right of Way • Infrastructure Proudly serving the province of Manitoba.

• • • • • • • • • • •

versified group. Also, when working with pipeline, transmission, road, rail, wind and canal projects involving Right of Way (ROW), appraisal can improve the workflow of a project. Integrating a proactive approach to project planning and execution will help to establish immediate and long-term needs for the life of your property. During the pre-planning process, one must include the following in their project strategy:

Property Valuation Right of Way Planning Landowner Compensation Strategy Acquisition/Disposition Strategy Tailored GIS Mapping Financing/Re-Financing Litigation/Expert Services Build to Suit/As If Complete Municipal Planning Agricultural Services Portfolio Asset Valuation Once the initial planning is complete, the construction stages will begin. This is where most companies don’t completely consider property assessment and taxation. This can be a large part of a project’s future operating cost that must be included in the budget. Property tax is one of the operating costs that companies can manage to keep costs low. Although companies can’t control the tax rates, they can control their assessments. In Manitoba, assessment of non-residential properties occurs every two years. This means that the property may have your new project on it but hasn’t been assessed. This can be due to timing of the project completion. At this point budgeting errors may occur for operating costs. In this case, companies may only receive an assessment for land. Using this number for the budget for

Looking Back...

Looking Forward... 1954 GMC

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

the life of the project, with a five per cent annual increase, will be understating the true tax liability. Budgeting for property tax requires an understanding of the local assessment legislation and regulation. Knowing how the assessors classify structures, machinery and equipment is important. This will help give an idea of the assessment value of the project. With the estimated assessed value, you can derive what the payable taxes will be. It is crucial that you track your construction costs and site inventory. Part of the process to ensure a fair assessment requires regular inventory tracking. Proactively managing your properties will result in a fair annual assessment. Choosing a qualified and experienced cost manager or project management company is essential when developing your oil and gas project. Projects in this industry are facing increasing challenges by becoming more technologically demanding and complex. Reputable companies with local knowledge of Manitoba and its oil and gas industry can give you a better insight into labour markets, product availability, scheduling concerns or resource issues. When budgets and schedules are tight, saving money becomes the priority. Remember that safety is crucial too and not to be underestimated, as it is a legal requirement for every project. Successful project managers follow a coherent, consistent reference framework that guides their decisions and processes and should include project phases and checkpoints, clear accountabilities, communication between teams and continuous reviews to measure project value. Obtaining realistic and timely Manitoba market intelligence can help to clarify investment and development decisions. Evaluating projects with a variety of tools helps identify and rationalize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and risks. Having awareness of a strategy for issues such as stakeholders’ concerns about environmental and community impacts, assists to maintain project momentum, manage and control the responses so the

project stays on budget and time. A comprehensive 360-degree approach to review costs, schedule and risks on a project, ensures project costs and timescales are extremely accurate and predictable, allowing you to make decisions with clarity and confidence. Determining what a realistic final bud-

get and schedule should be before the work is undertaken requires cost analysis, sensitivity analysis, cost-benefit reporting, development feasibility studies, development costs, critical path methodology schedule analysis and in-depth status reporting. All these can be undertaken by experienced qualified staff.

Engineers and contractors in the oil and gas industry will face new challenges as they design and construct the infrastructure over the next few years. More emphasis will be put on sustainable oil and gas exploration, extraction and production, as well as better infrastructure to support the workers, their families and the community. As the oil and gas industry embarks on a new generation of major projects, time, cost and quality should still be the core elements in every project. Every project needs successful management in order to control resources, be truly successful and ultimately add value. When building in Manitoba, one must always plan for everything from land acquisition, valuation, property appraisal to, tax, project design and development. Pride yourselves on understanding your industry by building a strong strategy and utilizing local and global real estate expertise and bringing leadership, discipline and extensive realworld acumen to your project. u

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Changing Standards in Archaeology By Joshua Glew, MBA, Business Development Manager, Western Heritage

Screening shovel tests to identify flakes and other small artifacts, in order to ensure accurate assessment.


or a quarter century, Western Heritage has worked to provide oil and gas customers with a high degree of certainty when performing archaeological investigations. They have achieved this through years of experience and by always employing the best archaeological practices along with leading technologies and techniques to ensure that the results of investigations are accurate. The purpose of a Heritage Resource Impact Assessment (HRIA) is to discover if heritage sites exist and to identify the extent to which development will impact them. Recently, regulators in western Canada have noted a steep decline in discoveries of heritage sites; HRIA’s are not leading to site discoveries as often as they used to. In some jurisdictions, this decline is as much as 50 per cent. So why is this happening?


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Industry leaders and government regulators agree that it is likely in part to an influx of new archaeologists, ones who are inexperienced and who have been applying a lower standard in order to be price competitive. Many of the fundamental principals that are recognized as crucial to site discovery, including shovel test placement and screening of shovel tests, were established in 1970s and ‘80s and are being overlooked by less experienced firms. This is troublesome for the field of Canadian archaeology, for the protection of heritage sites, and especially for the developers and proponents, who are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk at no fault of their own. 2015 will be a year of changing standards and regulations across Canada. Provincial heritage regulators are working at setting a formal bar for standards – you

can exceed the bar but you cannot go below the bar. Ontario and Manitoba are the leaders in Canada, having already established requirements for five-metre grids for shovel testing. In most archaeological jurisdictions, screening of shovel tests is a requirement, and in all jurisdictions it is the recommended best practice. Ontario is the leader here and has announced to the professional association that they are not renewing the licences of a number of archaeologists in the province, based on failures to meet these standards. Alberta and Saskatchewan have changes on the horizon that will most likely be in place within the year, potentially affecting current projects. This is good news for the industry and customers. It aims to ensure that sites are not missed by inadequate testing and that sites are properly characterized when they are discovered. This, in turn, will help to ensure that regulatory clearance is based on the best science available and provides risk management to customers by ensuring that development will not be stopped or slowed by rework due to inadequate archaeological testing. Any delays can be very costly and time-consuming, and can damage relationships with local communities. Proper shovel testing depends on the location, frequency, and size of shovel tests. A single negative shovel test only indicates there is not an artifact in that tested location and does not demonstrate that a site is not present. Clearly, multiple tests on a structured grid have a much greater likelihood of identifying a site. Screening these shovel tests is also very important. Without screening, only the largest of ar-

tifacts will be discovered, meaning many important sites will be missed. In fact, if you look up various definitions of shovel tests, screening is an integral part of the definition. Western Heritage has consistently applied the highest standards to testing throughout their history. For example, Western Heritage uses around 20 screened shovel tests per well site. Based on the literature and past research, the confidence of finding a buried site with this type of testing is high, in the 75 per cent range. In comparison, when reviewing a competitor’s tests, the standard was eight, but that included shovel tests on the access road, so the number of shovel tests was actually closer to four. None of the shovel tests were screened. Based on the literature and past research, the confidence of finding an archaeological site is quite low, in the five per cent range. Although the competitor was able to offer a 10 per cent lower price, Western Heritage’s work raised the confidence in the results by about 70 per cent.

As the bar is raised across western Canada, regulators are recognizing that this lower level of testing will not reliably detect archaeological sites. This is sure to lead to costly rework, time delays and costs to proponents, as well as a reactionary raising of prices. In addition to exceeding the standard best practices, Western Heritage has a long history of shaping the discipline by applying new technology and techniques to create value for our customers by more thoroughly managing heritage-associated risks. • GIS mapping and modeling is completed in-house to not only map each project, but also to forecast heritage potential in project areas. This potentially allows customers to avoid high potential areas by moving access roads or using directional drilling. • Near-surface geophysical techniques such as ground-penetrating radar and magnetic susceptibility are applied when more information is needed, or

when intrusive investigations are not feasible, such as in urban environments or when burials are present. • Geo-archaeology techniques such as portable optically stimulated luminescence (POSL) readers are used when applicable in order to enhance our evaluations of site integrity and significance and increase the value of HRIA work for the client, the regulator, and community heritage groups. Western Heritage uses the best combination of services for each individual project to make sure it is protected by sound science that represents the best practices available. Ultimately, this will save time and money, and ensure everything possible is done to protect Canadian archaeology, the histories of the communities you operate in, and the financial and operational security of your project. Western Heritage encourages its partners and customers to talk to us about how these changes can affect your business. u

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Power Supplied

Tundra Is Creating Value from Waste Gas by Turning it into a New Form of Energy


n what may be the largest waste recycling project in Manitoba’s oil field, Tundra Oil & Gas has taken the ini-

tiative to install a power generation system that is turning solution gas – a byproduct of the oil and gas sector – into electricity. The pilot project was started in February 2014 at Tundra’s 13-14-8-29 battery, near Sinclair, Manitoba, where the oil, water

and gas from nearly 400 surrounding wells is separated and processed. “Crude oil contains a certain amount of solution gas that is a mixture of gas hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen and a bit of carbon dioxide. While it is natural gas, it is not of marketable quality, nor do we have the proximity or infrastructure to sell this gas for further processing,”

explains Jade Cable, Tundra’s Facilities & Construction Manager. Instead of disposing of the solution gas by flaring, as is allowed by provincial oil and gas regulations, Tundra partnered with Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart™ Bioenergy Optimization Program in a bid to conserve the biomass and reuse it as a form of energy.

Co-­‐Genera)on at 13-­‐14

Three Capstone C65 microturbines installed and running Capstone C65 microturbine HMI for cogenera;on process Co-­‐gen video – looking east Capstone video – walkthrough 1


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

“Rather than allowing the solution gas to go to the flare to be burned off, we are compressing it and feeding it into three C65 Capstone microturbines that are coupled to an electric generator,” Cable says. “The gas goes in, spins the turbines and creates electricity that helps power the battery.” On average, each of the microturbines take in 500 cubic metres of gas per day to produce 65 kilowatts of energy, for a total of 195 kilowatts daily. Annually, it is expected that the generator will create 1.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, with peak output during the winter months. “It appears that solution gas is a viable source of fuel for the generation of electricity. Because of this, we are not only able to significantly reduce our environmental footprint by cutting down on emissions, we are able to offset a large portion of the power load at this facility,” says Cable, adding that as a cost-savings measure, another objective of the project is getting the bat-



“It appears that solution gas is a viable source of fuel for the generation of electricity. Because of this, we are not only able to significantly reduce our environmental footprint by cutting down on emissions, we are able to offset a large portion of the power load at this facility” tery to run at a neutral cost. Manitoba Hydro’s Bioenergy Optimization Program encourages industrial customers to produce their own heat and electricity using their company’s waste streams and byproducts. As it did with Tundra, Manitoba Hydro offers substantial financial incentives and technical support to install, operate and maintain equipment that can deliver consistent and reliable savings as well as environmental benefits. While similar conservation projects are running in Alberta, Tundra is the first company to attempt converting biomass

into energy in Manitoba’s oil field. It is anticipated that this project will lead the way for a more cost-effective and environmentally conscious oil and gas sector in the province. “This is a really exciting project, and we are pleased to be able to test it out at our battery, where we see it running for an indefinite amount of time,” Cable says. “We will continue to investigate how well the project could work at other locations and are optimistic that there will be more opportunities to apply this technology elsewhere.” u


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Utilizing Flare Gas to Generate On-Site Power with Microturbines Capstone C1000 microturbine.


he continued growth of oil and gas production in the U.S. and Canada has caused some scrutiny around gas flaring policies and regulations. Associated gas, commonly known as flare gas, is a byproduct of the oil drilling process. Associated gas is a form of natural gas that is either released to the atmosphere or burnt off as a waste product. Many oil and gas producers do not see any other need for their flared gas, and as a result, more and more gas produced is being flared. This outlook can lead to environmental issues and unwanted PR attention for oil and gas companies, putting pressure on oil drillers to find a clean-and-green solution. The increasing pressure to eliminate flaring is forcing oil and gas producers to reduce their gas flares and consider alternative methods for processing. So what can the oil and gas companies do with this product that cannot be stored and is otherwise marked as waste? What some companies don’t know is that it can be easily harnessed and utilized for on-site power generation.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Utilizing a low-emission microturbine power generator at oil and gas sites has sizeable benefits. However, with a lack of incentive funding from the U.S. government, many oil and gas companies continue to opt for the standard flare process. The reality is that companies are quite limited with their flaring allowances unless the well is connected to a natural gas pipeline. Additionally, many remote sites produce more gas than can be used locally, so any cost associated with gas-fueled power generation is typically a non-issue. The gas that would otherwise be flared is essentially free fuel that can be used for powering the entire site, offsetting on-site diesel use, providing cost savings and significantly reducing flares. Based in Los Angeles, California, Capstone Turbine designs and manufactures clean-and-green microturbines that can be used in all phases of oil and gas production, including upstream, midstream, and downstream in both onshore and offshore applications. Capstone microturbines can operate on associated gas with minimal

fuel pre-treatment and no exhaust after treatment. The scalability of Capstone microturbines is such that they provide solutions for all associated gas flow rates. With microturbine technology, oil and gas producers are able to significantly reduce their emissions and achieve a higher level of energy independence. There are incremental environmental and economic benefits to flare reduction. The low emissions from Capstone microturbines make for a more environmentfriendly carbon footprint and can eliminate regulation and permitting issues. In gas-by-wire applications, producers are able to use their gas to generate power to export or sell back to the grid. As associated flows diminish, Capstone units can be moved and allocated for other uses on-site. Capstone microturbines do not require power or pipeline infrastructure to operate and can be used wherever associated gas is present. With flare gas being so underutilized, the potential for production optimization is substantial for oil and gas producers worldwide. u

A Smooth Process: Swagelok’s Space-saving Process Interface Valves


nstrumentation is the use of measuring instruments to monitor and control a process. It is the art and science of measurement and control of process variables within a production, laboratory, or manufacturing area. Instruments are crucial in understanding the processes they read, so creating an interface between the process and instrumentation becomes key in delivering safe, timely and reliable information. Whether you are measuring temperatures, pressures, flow, pH, or humidity, you will need to tap into your process without interfering or contaminating its content while meeting specific codes and standards for your industries. Standard valves can take a good amount of space, especially when you need two or three in an assembly. That can pose a challenge if you have a tight space to work with or if you are trying to minimize overall

weight. Process instrumentation and piping products enable a smooth transition from the process piping system to instrumentation in a single configuration, providing fewer potential leak points, lower installed weight, and a smaller space envelope. Single-source units also reduce maintenance time and costs. This illustration show what a difference a Swagelok VB04 series valve can make – in this case, around 43 centimetres. Process interface valves can be configured to suit a variety of special applications, including: • Process piping isolation points • Direct mount to instruments • Chemical injection and sampling points • Vents and drains • Double block and bleed isolation In addition to double block and bleed assemblies, single block and block and bleed combinations are available. Block

and bleed globe valve module options are also available for all configurations.

Advantage The big advantage of the double block and bleed feature is being able to isolate the process and pull a sample out, or hook something out to the bleed port and be able to calibrate something downstream to an instrument. Leak-tight Swagelok process instrumentation components enable high-integrity measurement and tighter process control. Anywhere process measurements are made, Swagelok components make process interface easy and effective. For more information on process interface valves, please contact Swagelok Central Canada at or call 1-800-256-7776. We service Saskatchewan, Manitoba and N.W. Ontario. u Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Helly Hansen Workwear Enhances Canadian Work Environments with Advanced Apparel Designs


slo, Norway-based Helly Hansen, the world’s most experienced workwear brand, this summer introduced more than 140 new products into its Canadian apparel and footwear collection to benefit workers who operate in some of the world’s harshest climates. The greatly expanded collection features flame-retardant base layers, mid layers and outerwear; high-visibility rainwear and parkas; and the Chelsea Tradesman Collection with versatile, reinforced cotton and nylon jackets, pants, and work shirts. Wearing the right apparel on the job directly affects performance and safety. Slight changes in body temperature alter mental acuity, muscle endurance, metabolism, and blood flow, according to Shawn Amirault, national director of sales for Helly Hansen Workwear.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

“Whether it’s cold or hot outside, it’s critical to regulate body temperature so workers can stay focused on their jobs and avoid injuries,” says Amirault. “In extreme winter conditions, it’s paramount to keep skin dry and warm to eliminate the chance of hypothermia and, in the summer months, dry and cool to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.” Founded in 1877 by Norwegian sea captain Helly Juell Hansen, Helly Hansen has a history of innovation. The manufacturer invented the first supple waterproof fabrics in its earliest days, introduced the first pile insulating mid-layers (the precursor to fleece) in the 1960s, and Lifa, the first technical, performance-oriented base layers in the 1970s. Today, Lifa is Canada’s most popular base layer for sport and endurance-based activities. Helly Hansen’s Three Layer System of Dress was developed to maintain a dry microclimate around the body, which creates a thermo-neutral zone. This protection keeps the worker in their comfort zone for optimal performance. Helly Hansen is the first workwear brand to offer a complete FR three-layer collection that features baselayers designed to keep the skin warm and dry, midlayers for insulation, and outerwear that protects from snow, ice, wind, and rain. Helly Hansen’s FR base layers and thermal layer garments are consistent with NFPA 70E standards offering protection against heat, flames, and electrical arc flash. The new Camrose Crewneck and Pant keep the body warm and dry with soft, stretchy, anti-static fabrics that pull excess moisture away from the skin. The baselayer designs feature flatlock seams to minimize rubbing against the skin. Recommended for electrical utilities, oil and gas and chemical industries, the base layers are self-extinguishing and have permanent FR properties. Helly Hansen’s FR Thermal Layers, rated HRC 2 according to NFPA 70E, incorporate a blend of fibers that insulate against extreme cold and extreme heat generated by electrical arc. The Duluth Jacket with Detachable Hood is designed with soft, antistatic fibers that trap air to deliver exceptional warmth. The front Nomex/brass zipper is further protected with an inner storm flap to keep wind and rain at bay. It comes with an extra high collar and an adjustable hood for greater protection.

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The Wabush Jacket completes the threelayer FR ensemble with full waterproof protection in PU-coated aramid knit. The full-stretch jacket has a stow-away hood, vented back, a Nomex/brass front zipper, and durable, microweld seams. The level of work activity and weather conditions determine body temperature. Helly Hansen’s introduces H2 Flow to the workwear market to greatly enhance the versatility of outerwear and mid layers in a wider range of conditions. H2 Flow utilizes air pockets on the inside that store body heat and serve as an additional layer of insulation in cold conditions. When work levels intensify or the weather warms, generous zipper vents can be opened to instantly eliminate excess heat and allow the body to cool to its optimum performance levels. The technology is featured in the Oslo H2 Flow CIS Coat available with and without striping that delivers complete, highvisibility, weather protection for a diverse range of jobs and conditions. The coat is constructed with durable Helly Tech®

waterproof-breathable fabrics, fully taped seams, and a removable zip-in H2 Flow insulator jacket. For everyday work environments, Helly Hansen unveils the Chelsea Tradesman Collection featuring comfortable, durable jackets, pants, shirts, and hats for heavyduty jobs. The Chelsea Jacket is forged with a cotton-polyester blend that is comfortable off the rack and improves with age. The jacket is detailed with nylon reinforcements on the shoulders, elbows, cuffs and hem; and has a soft, brushed polyester finish on the inside of the collar and cuffs. Extra shoulder padding, multiple pockets, and a back expansion detail make the Chelsea one of the toughest, most functional tradesman jackets on the market. The complementary Chelsea Pant has nylon reinforcements on the seat and knees, knee pad pockets for extra comfort, two hanging front pockets for nails and screws, and polyester loops for screwdrivers and pliers. At the end of the day the hanging pockets can be tucked away to give the pant a casual look. u





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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

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Chelsea Jacket Features:

• 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material in CSA style striping for enhanced visibility • Stow away hood • Vented back • Nomex®/brass zipper over VELCRO® closing front storm flap • Elastic casing in back hem • MicroWeld™ seams

• Fabric: 79% cotton, 21% polyester, 295 G/M2 • Reinforcement at shoulders, elbows, cuffs and hem • Reinforcement: 100% Nylon Cordura® 219 g/m2 • Brushed polyester inside collar and cuffs • Extra padding at shoulders • Reflective details • Plastic covered metal snaps • Two chest pockets, one mobile phone pocket with flap and button closure • Two large inner pockets with VELCRO® closure • Two pockets at front with zippers • Extended back • VELCRO® adjustment at cuffs • Storm flap with zipper • Click.on™ loop at chest for ID card holder • Expansion in back for increased freedom of movement

Oslo H2 Flow CIS Coat/Oslo H2 Flow CIS Coat with CSA Striping Features • Helly Tech® waterproof/ breathable fabrics • CSA Z96 approved printed reflex on sleeves, shoulders and body • Bigger gap between the reflective stripes on sleeve for better comfort • Taped seams • YKK vislon two-way center front zipper • Back placket with chin guard brushed tricot • Storm flap with VELCRO® closure • Two visible chest pockets with YKK WR zippers, and brushed tricot pocket bags • Napoleon pocket behind center front storm flap, no need to open the jacket to access the pocket • YKK vislon zipper for ventilation under the arms • 4 hand pockets, 2 with with flap and VELCRO® closing • Loop for ID card under right-hand pocket flap • YKK vislon side zippers for better movement • YKK vislon zipper at bottom sleeve • Inside pocket at right side with YKK vislon zipper • Hood with draw cord adjustment at front and back • Laminated hood brim • Zip in solution for the H2Flow™ jacket, an extra zipper on the inside of the coat goes around hood. Loops at bottom sleeves and neck for extra attachment for the H2Flow™ jacket • CIS: H2Flow™ technology • Loop for ID card at inside bottom front

Duluth Jacket with Detachable Hood Features: • High collar design • Drawcord adjustable hood • Two side seam pockets • Flatlock seams • FR knit cuffs at wrist • Fabric made of Kermel® 50%, Wool 25%, FR Lenzing® 22%, Belltron® 3% • Belltron® makes the fabric antistatic • Permanent FR properties • Arc rating: EBT 14 cal/cm2, HAF 91% • ASTM F2302 compliant for flame and heat resistance clothing • ASTM F1506 compliant for electrical arc protective clothing

Camrose Crewneck and Pant Features: • Ratings: HRC 2 and ATPV 12.2 CAL/CM2 • Recommended for electrical utilities, oil and gas, chemical industries etc. • Fabric made of Kermel® 48.5%, FR Lenzing® viscose, 48.5%, Belltron® 3% • Permanent FR properties • Self extinguishing • Belltron® makes the fabric antistatic • Soft comfortable knit • Arc rating: ATPV 12.2 cal/cm2, HAF 81.1 • ASTM F2302 compliant for flame and heat resistant clothing • ASTM F1506 compliant for electrical arc protective clothing

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Oil Prices Will Rebound by This Summer By David Yager, National Leader, Oilfield Services, MNP


here are very few advantages to growing old except experience, which is only accumulated with practice and time. After writing about the ups and downs of the oilpatch for 35 years, two repeatable trends emerge. Following are the only common characteristics of numerous booms and busts and what they mean for oil patch workers in 2015 across western Canada and beyond. First, there are very few accurate forecasters prognosticating about the future price of oil. Most are simply extrapolators. The default behaviour is to take whatever



happened yesterday and extend it out forever. If prices are high, they’ll stay high. If they are low, they’ll never rise. When somebody predicts an abnormal change in oil prices in either direction, they are generally ignored. The handful of really smart market analysts aren’t recognized as such until after the fact. The only other consistent trend after studying this subject since 1979 is that the consensus view is invariably wrong. It never works out the way most believe it will or should. Direction doesn’t matter. After agonizing over forecasts and budgets

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a Directional Boring Units: (3x)- 40,000 lb units, (1x)- 30,000 lb unit, (2x)- 15,000 lb units e a Hydro Vac Trucks: (1x)- Tri-Drive, (2x)- Tandems, (1x)- Single e a 250 John Deere Trackhoe with all attachments, (3x)- Cat Backhoes e


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

for publicly traded oilfield service companies for 25 years, I finally realized the only sure thing is they were never right. The unknown was how much and which way. It’s a volatile business, Canada’s oilpatch. Commodity reports say world oil markets are oversupplied to the tune of 2 million barrels per day. All the alleged geopolitical subplots involving Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are interesting, but don’t mean much. The low-cost Middle East producers aren’t supporting the price at or near $100 because they are losing market share to new supplies from North America, like oil sands and shale oil. They’ll never get it back if prices stay high, so they will remain abnormally low until global markets change. Reversing the direction of oil prices from down to up will require a verifiable swing in the supply/demand equation of at least 1 million barrels per day. Half of the swing will come from demand and half from supply. This will occur this summer,

perhaps even sooner. Currently, the world burns over 90 million barrels of crude daily. The price is down by $50 a barrel. If current prices hold (which they won’t), this would save the world’s oil consumers $4.5 billion per day or $1.6 trillion per year. That’s some big money. For the world to consume an extra 500,000 barrels per day, demand must only rise by six-tenths of one per cent. While I’m not a classically trained or officially pedigreed practitioner of the “dismal science” of economics, I’m confident oil markets are sufficiently elastic that a 50 per cent reduction in price will lead to a 0.6 per cent increase in demand by mid2015. The other 500,000 barrels will come from high cost and high decline oil production. No matter how the North American shale oil boom came to be, production is unsustainable without continued intensive drilling. This won’t happen because of deep spending cuts. Production decline

rates are huge. In south Texas for example, an average well’s production falls over 60 per cent in the first year. Shale oil output will drop significantly as 2015 progresses. This is physics, not economics. The two foregoing events will be measurable in about six months, or the summer of 2015. Barring a major geopolitical supply disruption, oil won’t increase to $100 anytime soon. But it will certainly rise much closer to the global replacement cost of about $80. Although this price isn’t high enough to resume all the massive spending on drilling and new oilsands plants we’ve enjoyed for years, it will stabilize job markets and even house prices in areas where real estate is under pressure. Both are very positive developments. Canada is the fifth largest oil and gas producer in the world. Big business. We’ll be at this for a long time. While the future will undoubtedly be different, rest assured the oil patch will survive and prosper. u

Strategies Produced For Today and Tomorrow From volatile commodity prices to changing client spending, the oil & gas industry faces ongoing challenges. To increase profits in dynamic market conditions, MNP’s industry specialists help business owners and management teams focus on factors within your control. Canada is the fifth-largest oil and gas producer in the world. While the future will undoubtedly be different, rest assured the oil patch will survive and prosper. By optimizing the financial efficiency of your operation, we will help raise profits and keep your opportunities flowing.

Contact: Julee Galvin, CA Virden T: 204.748.1340 E:

Deb Calverley, CGA Deloraine T: 204.747.2842 E:

Corie Wudrick-Mohrbutter, CA Moosomin T: 306.435.3347 E:

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Six Planning Imperatives for Oil and Gas Companies in Volatile Times By Geoff Hill, Deloitte


hen I think about the price of oil these days, Newton’s law of universal gravitation inevitably comes to mind: what goes up must come down. After five years of commodity prices well “up,” sure enough they came back down, the price per barrel of oil sliding to under $50 from over $100 in only eight months. Even if the slight uptick we started to see at the time of writing in February holds or continues, this is neither the first nor the last price bust we will see. The opportunity now is to apply lessons learned from past business cycles and avoid repeating the same mistakes. When times are tough, it’s

tempting to retreat. Hard choices must be made – but it’s critical that companies do not put long-term goals in jeopardy. We’ve already seen the headlines about layoffs and cancelled/suspended projects, but it’s not too late to implement a strategy to see you through the current low-price environment so that you are poised for growth when prices inevitably rebound. More specifically, we see six key areas, as follows, that demand careful and deliberate planning – even if the plan is to do nothing.

1. Sustainable cost reduction Cost reduction initiatives are often the

first resort when the market turns sour, but they often fail to deliver lasting results. Our view is that you cut if you must, but use a scalpel and magnifying glass. Cost reductions must support strategy, mitigate risk (including any new risk you plan to accept) and enhance efficiency. The goal is to cut the right costs to meet short-term needs without impeding long-term goals. But don’t cut anything that would harm the company in normal times because that will leave you at a disadvantage when higher prices return. Beyond cuts, meanwhile, costs can be reduced by optimizing operational efficiencies and by analyzing vendor contracts, among other approaches. It is also important to distinguish between indispensable “business partners” and those who are simply “vendors.” This will better ensure you’re reaping maximum cost benefit from these relationships while still reducing costs. In any event, before you cut, you must know the impact of each cost so you can be aware of potential ripple effects.

2. Portfolio management It’s too simple to say it’s either a buyer’s or seller’s market. Depending on your assets and liquidity, you may be in a position to buy or a position to sell. For instance, if you are in a strong fiscal position, now may be the time to make acquisitions. If your company is fiscally challenged, however, divesting non-essential assets may bring new strength and stability. Optimize your portfolio by examining your assets


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

to determine whether they support your strategy. Consider what business you want to be in and how you will get there. Is it a time to diversify or specialize?

3. Financial management Money talks, so listen up. The key to financial management in volatile times is to have a stable foundation to weather the storm and proactively position yourself for future growth. This may require corporate or tax restructuring, or changes in how you balance shareholder value with reinvestment in the business. Remember that companies need liquidity to survive, which could come from optimizing working capital or external debt, but must be sufficient to meet the organization’s shortand long-term needs alike.

4. Talent management Layoffs appear to be inevitable in tough times, but they shouldn’t have to be. Now more than ever it is crucial to retain top talent wherever possible. Some down- or right-sizing may be called for, but it is imperative that you keep your best people –

they’re very hard to get back. Besides, you don’t want your competitive advantage going to a competitor. Given how costly it is to retrain and rehire employees, now is the time to innovate engagement programs and performance management systems to maximize the passion and productivity of all employees. Workforce analytics, for instance, can offer a deeper look at corporate and HR data to identify efficiencies and cost savings, especially in terms of overtime or productivity.

5. Stakeholder engagement Leaders don’t follow, they lead, so have a plan to manage relationships with banks, boards and shareholders – all key stakeholders, ultimately. Analyze the company’s position with regards to its stakeholders and look for potential opportunities for growth or risk mitigation. Create a foundation of action that you can bring to your stakeholders to engage them with your strategy. Of course, central to all this planning is careful communications that keep all stakeholders informed and engaged.

6. Strategy Strategic decisions are usually based on conditions the organizations sees directly ahead of it. However, the world moves fast, and the full effect of these decisions may not be implemented until conditions have changed. Scenario planning challenges management to take a long-term view and to make more sustainable decisions – including establishing contingency plans for when the future unfolds counter to plan. Just remember: hope is not a strategy. We’ve been through these price environments before, and will surely experience them again. The key is not to hope the boom days return but to craft a strategy that prepares your company to take a stronger position when they inevitably do. These are, after all, exactly the sorts of times that distinguish leading companies from everyone else. Geoff Hill is a Calgary-based partner in Deloitte’s Consulting group, where he focuses on operational excellence and leads the firm’s national oil and gas sector practice. He can be reached at u

Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


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The other side of the equation is industry. They have difficult areas in which they need to complete their projects, and access mats provide a safe and effective way to help accomplish their goals. Over time, unfortunately, things such as clubroot and other infectious diseases and unwanted pests surface across our agriculture belt of western Canada. This extremely precious earth needs to be protected and got mats? is doing their part to minimize the likelihood of cross contamination with their new state-of-the-art rig mat washer. got mats? has researched the government requirements, guidelines, and suggestions, and then went even further in developing their wash plant to do the best they can to help protect the land. They are very excited to bring a new highly efficient, highly effective product to the marketplace that Manitoba has not seen before!

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

1) Save Money – speeds up operations and decreases equipment fatigue and failures. 2) Make Money – the customer will not have to shut in oil well production that is difficult to access due to wet conditions. Oil and revenues continue to flow. 3) Time is Money – stay on schedule. Even in wet conditions, companies will be able to enjoy easy access on difficult worksites such as rig leases, pipeline digs, rail line repairs, and other construction sites. 4) Safety – provide a harder and more stable surface that is safer to work on than soft, unpredictable soils. 5) Protect – provide extra protection for underground infrastructure such as pipelines and cables. 6) Relationships – local farmers appreciate the minimal land disturbance you have on their land, including taking measures to decrease the spread of weeds and seeds.

Products got mats? offers the following types of mats: 1) Access mats - eight feet by 14 feet and are made of oak - our most popular and versatile mat.

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Keystone XL Debate Continues to Rage By Leonard Melman


t’s amazing how sometimes random events can serve to highlight areas of public controversy. In terms of fossil fuel production and distribution, the past year has seen more than its share of headline-generating developments. From distant regions, the Ukraine-Russia dispute has served to place new pressures on natural gas distribution in the European market, and the sudden eruption of violence and political uncertainties within oil-producing regions such as Venezuela, Iran and Nigeria has raised questions regarding the reliability of petroleum production and exports from those regions. Closer to home, the local petroleum industry has been hit by a serious drop in crude and gasoline prices, and the recent Presidential veto of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has a focus of media attention in the first quarter of 2015. International developments over the past decade or more have highlighted the importance of generating reliable North American supplies, and that consideration – plus long-standing attention from the vast environmental community – has brought sharpness to the polarizing debates surrounding one of the most important projects now dominating North American energy media headlines. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is designed to move Canadian petroleum through the central US and eventually down to major refining and shipping facilities on the American Gulf Coast. The project should be of vital interest to the entire Canadian west, where petroleum production – both present and future – has become a vitally important base upon which governments look to build future economic growth. Alberta, of course, is already well known for conventional as well as oil sands development and production, while other provinces and states look toward increasing natural gas and petroleum extraction as major sources of present and future economic growth. Alberta’s enormous tar sands oil recovery programs lie close to the heart of the current debate, but Keystone XL is actually only one part of the Keystone Pipeline System, with three phases carrying crude oil from Alberta already in operation as of spring 2015. Phase 1 carries crude from Hardisty, Alberta through Regina, Saskatchewan to Steele City, Nebraska and then on to refineries in Illinois. Phase 2 operates between Steele City and Cushing, Oklahoma, and Phase 3A continues on to Nederland, Texas. Phase 3B, which extends the pipeline to Houston, is currently under construction.


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Map courtesy of TransCanada Corporation.

The Keystone XL pipeline – Phase 4 of the total system – will be an entirely new pipeline from Hardisty directly to Steele City, located in southernmost Nebraska – and it is this phase that has aroused an almost unprecedented political, regulatory and environmental storm reaching all the way through the U.S. and Canadian political systems right up to the Oval Office of the United States President Barak Obama. The controversies surrounding Keystone XL are making wellpublicized pro and con headlines on an almost daily basis and can be attributed, at least in part, to the influence of great personal wealth on either side of the issue.

To a large extent, forces opposed to the construction of Keystone XL are funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, founder and former Chairman of Farallon Capital Management. In a 2014 interview, Steyer declared he was dedicating himself to tackling energy and climate issues, and in order to work toward those goals, he founded and funded NextGen Climate, which identifies itself strongly with promoting climate change awareness, as well as supporting clean air and water issues. Meanwhile, noted libertarians and free-market activists Charles and David Koch – also themselves billionaires – are equally vigorous in support of Keystone XL. The Koch Brothers, respectively chairman and executive vice president of giant Koch Industries, have consistently promoted Keystone XL on the basis of the huge potential economic and job-creation benefits, which could accrue upon its construction and successful completion. Political influence has played an important part in the overall debates regarding the project. Generally, those on the political Left, and therefore carrying substantial influence within Democratic Party circles right up to the President, have fervently opposed the project on environmental grounds. One of their arguments is that completion of Keystone XL would enable further expansion of tar sands petroleum recoveries in Northern Alberta, which they regard as environmentally harmful. Another is that approval of Keystone XL could endanger the entire Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies the central core of the U.S. and hosts one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world and which provides drinking water for more than 2 million people. On the opposite side, those favouring the project point to two significant considerations. First, they claim direct job creation benefits, which would include construction employment, permanent operational job placements, and support for many retail establishments during construction and operation, as well as further employment within the Canadian oil industry, and capital gains, which would then be redistributed throughout the economy. Most recently, they’ve noted that the Ukraine-Russia and IraqSyria plus Venezuelan and Nigerian instabilities demonstrate the potential vulnerabilities associated importing fossil fuels from distant, possibly unreliable sources. Accordingly, they favour extensive development of North American alternatives. There are other political issues as well. Since the Keystone XL pipeline originates in Canada but passes through U.S. territory, the project requires approval by the U.S. Secretary of State, which means relations between Canada and the U.S. are directly involved. Also, and of prime political importance to Americans, the elections of last November resulted in the Republican Party achieving majorities in both the House and Senate, leaving President Obama in a more vulnerable position than at any time during his two administrations. Both sides of the issue appear to have substantial data to back up their cases. Those advocating the project can point to a specific study by the American State Department, which discussed some of the economic benefits, including the eventual creation of over 40,000 jobs during construction and operation of the pipeline. They have also estimated completing the pipeline would add

many billions of dollars to overall economic activity. As noted, another argument of the pro-pipeline forces remains that construction and operation of the pipeline would allow additional oil to flow into America from Canada, further reducing dependence upon unreliable foreign sources. The anti-pipeline argument continues to focus on possible environmental harm and takes several different forms. First, they argue that construction of the pipeline would enable Alberta tar sands oil to be produced in ever-larger quantities, thereby increasing what they regard as “dirty oil” production. They also suggest that the by increasing distribution efficiency and perhaps lowering overall costs, a successful pipeline would encourage further fossil fuel usage, thereby worsening climate change impacts – something environmentalists have been fighting against for decades. As well, they argue that actual construction of the pipeline itself could increase general environmental risks, particularly in wetland areas such as eastern Nebraska. Matters came to a temporary head in early 2015 when both the US House and Senate passed pro-pipeline legislation after the last legal challenges to the project had been set aside by the courts. However, in early March, President Obama interposed his veto, once again bringing the project to a halt. His objections appeared to be primarily environmental, but he also noted that he believed some of the new job claims were exaggerated. His reasoning was clearly expressed in the following presidential quote immediately following his veto action: “The reason that a lot of environmentalists are concerned about it is the way that you get the oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil, and obviously there are always risks in piping a lot of oil through Nebraska farmland and other parts of the country.” He did add that his veto was not permanent and further studies should take place. Ironically, this entire controversy surrounding a project that would enable further production and distribution is taking place at a time when there is already evidence of significant over-production of petroleum within North America. In fact, the excess of supply over demand has grown to the point where numerous oil tanker vessels are being hired, not to transport petroleum to distant markets, but rather as the most cost-effective means of above-ground storage of excess supplies. Other evidence of a growing over-supply problem has been a significant decline in petroleum pricing. As an example, the price of crude oil on the international commodity market has declined from over US$90 per barrel as recently as October 2014 to below US$50 per barrel by early March 2015. Whatever the eventual outcome of the Keystone XL project, there is little doubt that the petroleum industry finds itself at a critical juncture with distribution, production, demand and pricing all in a state of considerable flux. It will be most interesting to watch developments within this vital industry going forward, but one thing is certain: the entire debate surrounding Keystone XL has served to significantly raise the level of public knowledge of the subject of North American fossil fuels developments. u Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015


Trucking on into the Future with TSL Industries By Deb Smith Doing What it Takes to Get the Job Done That philosophy has fueled the success and reputation of this respected, familyowned oilfield services company in Kola, Manitoba for more than a decade. When Bob and Martha Penner sold their farm to begin a small trucking business, they had no idea where their hard work and commitment would eventually take them. “I’ve worked around equipment most of my life on farms,” says Bob Penner, CEO of TSL Industries, “but I didn’t know anything about the oilfield when I started. A friend who was in the industry asked if I wanted to build a hydrovac with him, and I had to ask what that was.” By 2003, the Penners and their partner had two hydrovac trucks and more work than they could handle. Twelve years later, the company owns close to 100 different pieces of equipment with

five mechanics working full-time to keep them working and in top condition. Today, TSL’s 85 employees take pride in the company’s integrity and hard work and the translation of its four key corporate mission statements into their everyday working lives. 1. To Ensure Customers Receive the High Quality Service They Expect and Deserve As part of fulfilling this statement, TSL Industries has strived to have on hand the equipment and the drivers for whatever the oilfield industry might need–everything from tank trucks to daylighting equipment to tractors and a track hoe. And if a customer has a special trucking need, the company will find a way to fulfill that need. As Marianne Ludlam, CFO explains, “We will go the extra mile to strategically design

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Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

and implement solutions that may not have been considered.” For example, in 2013, TSL had a state-of-the-art hydrovac truck built to certain specifications to service the needs of a customer. The success of that piece of equipment led to the purchase of two more to add to their fleet. Being situated close to major oilfield areas, the main dispatchers juggle complex schedules to maintain the company’s promise of 24/7 service coverage over southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Diversification has been one of the keys to growth, dictated by the customer rather than what should happen. 2. To Ensure that All Work is Done Safely Taking care of business at TSL means taking care of both its customers and its employees. As part of its “working alone” policy, the company has installed GPS units in all its trucks so that dispatch knows where each one is at any given time. Drivers are fully trained in the safe operation of equipment and hold all current certifications and tickets required in both the oil and gas and the trucking industries. The company has also begun purchasing units with attached sleepers to accommodate often long hours of work, benefiting the customer with uninterrupted service but also for the safety and comfort of its drivers. Two full-time safety supervisors exceed recommended practices with constant updating and regular safety meetings at all levels. 3. To Never Forget that People Come Before Profits. When the Penners and their original partner named their company after the

first initials of their daughters, they were also making a commitment to build their business with the principles of respect as are within a family. “The employees here are not numbers,” says Ludlam. “Each one is known by name.” With TSL centered in the small community of Kola, most employees have come from other parts of Manitoba as well as other provinces to make the company and the area their new home. Drivers take all required courses offered online through reputable companies. After that, they go out with experienced drivers who already know how to run the equipment. TSL makes sure that all its employees are confident and skilled in order to provide professional and reliable service on every job. In their turn, the people who make up TSL can take pride in doing their part toward maintaining the excellent reputation that the company has earned over the years. 4. To Do Everything with Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty.

“We will go the extra mile to strategically design and implement solutions that may not have been considered.” Marianne Ludlam, CFO These are lofty words that have been put to the test and made real over the past 14 years of hard work and vision. TSL has held its focus on maintaining positive relationships with not only its customers, but with anyone and everyone the company comes in contact with–the rural municipalities, the public and local communities–for the benefit of all. For example, TSL works with truck servicing shops in other locations to get any downed equipment up and running as soon as possible, while calling upon its extensive inventory of vehicles for immediate replacement. In this way, TSL not only minimizes down time to its customers, but also ensures that its own

people and the community can work together to complete the job. The goal is and always has been to provide unbeatable service whenever and wherever it’s needed–with honesty, integrity and loyalty. Ludlam does not hesitate to attribute the core of TSL’s success to its husband and wife owner team. “We have two remarkable people who are at the head of this business. That’s where our mission statement comes from.” When the Penners needed work, they went out and made it happen. Their company continues to move toward the future with that same determination and promise of prosperity and pride. u

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Index to advertisers 24-7 Enterprises Ltd...............................................................................54 Abco Supply & Service Ltd...................................................................16 Altus Geomatics...................................................................................... 75 Andrew Agencies Ltd............................................................................ 40 Annugas Compression Consulting..................................................... 14 Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc......................................................................65 Arc Rite Welding......................................................................................15 Assiniboine Industrial Services............................................................56 Bdc.............................................................................................................48 Beaver Truck Centre.................................................................................. 4 Brandon Bearing Supply Ltd..................................................................49 Canad Inns................................................................................................86 Cando Rail Services.................................................................................15 Centec Electric.........................................................................................47 Certified Inspection Services................................................................62 Christies Office Products......................................................................47 Collet Crane Rental Ltd..........................................................................48 Comfort Inn & Suites..............................................................................92 Compass Group Canada.........................................................................11 Cor Solutions..........................................................................................26 Cros-Man Direct Underground Ltd....................................................88 D & G Polyethylene Products Ltd.........................................................91 Dallas Transport Ltd................................................................................45 Dalziel Oilfield Consulting................................................................... 64 Dl Trailer Parts.........................................................................................30 Ducks Unlimited Canada.......................................................................26 Economic Development Brandon.......................................................IFC Enbridge Pipeline Ltd...............................................................................16 Eng-Tech Consulting Limited............................................................... 64 Estevan Plastic Products........................................................................63 Falcon Enterprises Ltd.............................................................................17 Fast Trucking Services............................................................................76 Fb Industries Inc.......................................................................................19 Fontana’s Trucking..................................................................................38 Fountain Tire.............................................................................................59 Freightliner Manitoba.............................................................................52 Gb Contract Inspection..........................................................................15 Gcs Energy Services..............................................................................55 Got Mats?.................................................................................................93 Graham Construction.........................................................................OBC Grimes Sales/Schlumberger Lift Solutions......................................25 Guild Insurance Brokers Inc................................................................. 44 Helly Hansen Canada.............................................................................85 Hodgson Custom Rolling Inc.................................................................. 5 Hudson Tank Rentals...............................................................................21 Integra Tire................................................................................................28 Jebb R T Electric Ltd.............................................................................. 64 Kilford Construction...............................................................................72 Lee’s Service.............................................................................................42 Leech Printing Ltd....................................................................................46 Logan International Inc..........................................................................65 Manitoba Oil & Industries Show..........................................................61


Manitoba Oil & Gas Review 2015

Manitoba Petroleum Branch.................................................................77 Millennium Directional Service Ltd................................................... 90 Milwaukee Tools......................................................................................34 Mnp Llp....................................................................................................89 Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester..............................................42 Neset Consulting.....................................................................................30 No Spill Systems.................................................................................... IBC Norbert’s Manufacturing.......................................................................96 North Dakota Petroleum Council........................................................67 Notre Dame Used Oil..............................................................................81 Nylus Systems Corp...............................................................................68 Odanah Trucking.....................................................................................48 Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba Inc...............97 Peloquin Manufacturing Inc.................................................................43 Pierson Welding.......................................................................................42 Prairie Battery...........................................................................................52 Prairie Mobile Communications............................................................ 3 Prairie Mobile Homes............................................................................ 33 Precise Tong/Well Service....................................................................69 Princess Farms........................................................................................ 64 Pro Drill Ltd.............................................................................................. 40 Rcm Safety Services...............................................................................71 Reliable Metal Buildings........................................................................34 Rm of Pipestone.......................................................................................41 Rm of Two Borders..................................................................................42 Rm of Wallace-Woodworth.................................................................43 Safe Work..................................................................................................35 Scott Land & Lease Ltd...........................................................................65 SNC-Lavalin Inc....................................................................................... 57 Sto/Van Oilfield Maintenance.............................................................52 Swagelok Central Canada....................................................................... 7 Synergy Land Services Ltd....................................................................49 Taylor Oilfield Services...........................................................................47 Team Snubbing.........................................................................................31 Testlabs Inc...............................................................................................59 Texcan Sonepar Canada........................................................................86 Third Dimension Ind. Ltd.......................................................................53 Town of Virden..........................................................................................41 Tremcar......................................................................................................20 Triangle Welding......................................................................................39 Tsl Industries............................................................................................13 United Rentals.......................................................................................... 10 Virden Meter............................................................................................23 Watson Land Services............................................................................36 Wcb...........................................................................................................29 Western Heritage Services...................................................................79 Westoba Credit Union Ltd....................................................................43 Winkler Structures............................................................................50-51




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