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Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show planned for June 2-3

Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is a go for North Dakota in May
Oil show pic
Plans are still underway for an oil show in Weyburn this June, but there may be several changes. File photo by Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show committee is still planning on holding its biennial event this June 2-3, but things are still up in the air due to public health restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s not the only oil show affected.

“We are hopeful and optimistic,” said Tanya Hulbert, Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show manager, by phone from Weyburn. She said they’ll know more March 19, when the provincial government announces its plans for public health restrictions beyond that date.

As Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 numbers have been dropping, the committee was hopeful the provincial government would have started lifting restrictions in mid-February, as North Dakota and Montana have done. That has not been the case.

“If anything, we are still going to go through with our golf tournament, because we know that last summer, golfing was allowed,” she said. It may have to be done differently, such as not using a shotgun start, but they intend to find a way. The golf tournament would be held on June 1, but that could change, depending on what happens with the show.

And no matter what, they will be announcing this year’s Oilman of the Year, Southeast Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year and Saskatchewan Oil Patch Hall of Fame inductees.

The layout of the show may be changed, and the committee is looking at options for suppers which would allow for more spacing. “We're looking at an all-outdoor show which wouldn't have the same restrictions, but right now we're exploring every possible avenue and we're hopeful and optimistic,” Hulbert said. 

If the global pandemic hadn’t come along in the spring of 2020, the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference would have been held in Bismarck, N.D., with this year’s edition would have been in Regina. However, nothing has been normal for the past year, and that schedule was kyboshed a long time ago.

However, the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) is planning on going ahead with the convention, live and in person, this May 12-13. Traditionally, for over 30 years, the show has alternated between Saskatchewan and North Dakota, with participation from Manitoba, Montana and South Dakota, all of which have parts of their land area in the Williston Basin. For Saskatchewan, that means the southeast corner of the province.

The NDPC has announced that registration is open. “We appreciate your patience as we navigated the uncertainty over the past year - North Dakota is open for business and we want you to join us this May,” they said in an email.

“We are firming up our agenda and look forward to making announcements about keynote speakers in the coming weeks. Our trade show is also filling up, over 150 exhibitors so far, and we expect a busy and engaged exhibit hall.”

That’s a far cry from Saskatchewan, where this weekend’s TeleMiracle will have no audience, and substantial portions of its show will have been pre-recorded separately.

Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 new case numbers have come down somewhat, with seven-day average now 155, and 211 new cases reported on Thursday. Saskatchewan had 1,493 active cases. But North Dakota, which saw a tremendous spike in new cases in the late fall, has seen its COVID cases plummet. On Thursday, it had 91 new cases, but only 706 active cases. As of Wednesday, its seven-day average was 90 new cases.

In Saskatchewan, the Petroleum Technology Research Centre heads up our version of this event, in conjunction with the Minister of Energy and Resources and the Saskatchewan Geological Survey. Norm Sacuta, spokesperson for PTRC, said they’ve heard recently from North Dakota and talked about their sponsorship.

“We will not be going,” Sacuta said on Feb. 24. The Canadian board is meeting this week to discuss what they’re going to do in terms of sponsoring the event. One thing being considered is providing a virtual morning session focused on Saskatchewan, with the PTRC, University of Regina, International Carbon Capture and Storage Knowledge Centre and one other group making presentations.

They will be discussing the Canadian version in 2022, which, hopefully by that time, would occur after borders have opened and public health restrictions have eased.

Sacuta said it helps in that Saskatchewan’s version of the WBPC is more focused on presentations than the trade show, while the North Dakota version has a heavy emphasis on its large trade show.

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