Saskatchewan’s oil and gas sector is getting some help from the province as it faces COVID-19 and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Provincial energy minister Bronwyn Eyre announced relief measures today that include extending filing and other deadlines so companies can stabilize operations as their employees move to work from home.
Mineral rights scheduled to expire this year will be extended by a year. This measure includes rights under oil and gas lease, exploration license or permit.
As well, the government has reduced by half the industry portion of the Oil and Gas Administrative levy for this fiscal year. It has also delayed invoicing of remaining balances until Oct. 1.
The government said this would provide relief worth $11.4 million to help address liquidity.
A draft agreement with Ottawa on regulating methane reduction in the upstream oil and gas industry has been reached, Eyre also said.
“We are very pleased that the federal government has agreed with the strength of our Methane Action Plan and that we have regained provincial jurisdiction over our regulations,” she said in a news release. “We will now work with our operators in a common sense way to reduce emissions from venting and flaring by 4.5 million tonnes per year by 2025.”
The province also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors to harmonize regulations with Alberta in order to reduce red tape.
Saskatchewan’s energy sector employs more than 34,000 people, many in rural Saskatchewan.