The Southwest had the distinction of having the highest priced parcel during the December sale of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights. Scott Land & Lease Ltd. acquired a 1,327-hectare exploration licence south of Gull Lake for a cost of $1.6 million during the final Crown sale of 2012.
Province wide, the December sale generated $8.9 million in bonus bid activity on 89 lease parcels, another $1.6 million for a pair of petroleum and natural gas exploration licences, while another $1 million was bid for a pair of oil sands special exploratory permits. The Weyburn-Estevan area realized $6.1 million in activity, the Lloydminster area was next at $2.6 million, followed by the Swift Current area at $1.8 million, while the Kindersley-Kerrobert area generated $982,890 in activity. However, the December sale was the second lowest among the past 22 sales.
Despite topping the $100 million level in land sale activity for the year at $105.7 million, 2012's activity is the lowest total since 2004 when $80.8 million in activity was generated province wide. Last year $248.9 million in bid activity was recorded, while in 2010 there was a total of $394.4 million in interest across the province.
In the Southwest, 2012 produced a total of $13.64 million in activity, mostly on the strength of $6 million in interest during the August land sale, but hampered by October's no bid activity and four other sales which only produced a combined $7.64 million.
The Southwest's 2012 total of $13.64 million was well behind the 2011 year end total of $73.4 million, but a slight improvement from the $8.1 million in activity recorded in 2009. The 2012 totals in the Southwest are the third lowest since 2000.
Energy and Resources Minister Tim McMillan said it was encouraging having interest in two of the five special exploratory permits in the oil sands north of the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range which were available.
"In addition to a bonus bid, these permits require a minimum work commitment expenditure to be spent in exploration over the five-year term of the permits. The province is cautiously optimistic that the results of this exploratory work will provide further insight into the potential of the resource in the province," McMillan stated in a press release.
He also pointed out an average of $598 per hectare was bid for oil and gas rights in December, which is more than double the $218 per hectare received by Alberta in their last sale of oil and gas rights.