Saskatchewan Oil Show to make big splash this year

Every two years, the movers and shakers of the oil industry converge on Weyburn for the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show, and this year’s show promises to be as big and exciting as ever.

“We’ve stepped up our game to bring in a different crowd,” said Del Mondor, chairman of the Oil Show board, adding the organizing committee made the effort to spend more money to bring in some big names as speakers.

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The Oil Show will feature researcher and blogger Vivian Krause and commentator and broadcaster Rex Murphy as the two keynote speakers, with Krause to speak after the awards ceremonies on Wednesday, June 5, and Murphy to take to the podium on Thursday after the industry luncheon.

At the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Recognition Awards on Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe will be speaking, and in another first for the Oil Show, the provincial cabinet will hold their cabinet meeting that morning with many of the ministers staying to tour the Oil Show.

“We’re ready to go, we’re completely organized,” he said. “It will give Weyburn some much-needed positive publicity.”

Mondor noted they have featured broadcaster John Gormley as a keynote speaker in the last two oil shows, which has been good for the oil and its exhibitors.

“He’s such a cheerleader for Saskatchewan,” said Mondor, adding of this year’s first speaker, “Vivian has a very targeted message.”

As for Murphy, the TV commentator has indicated he is going to come to Weyburn prior to the day he’s speaking because he wants to have a tour of the local oil industry and talk to local operators.

“He’ll be here to find out what’s happening in the oil business,” said Mondor.

This is Mondor’s third and last Oil Show, and he has been grooming local oilman Dan Cugnet in the vice-president’s position to take over after this show is done. He will continue to be on the Oil Show board, and has been involved in the show for the past 15 years.

“Each one of the shows was after a price drop, so I’ve had a little different challenge for the last two shows. I’m right in the middle of this business, and I understand where people are coming from. I get it … so a lot of what we’ve done is cognizant of that,” said Mondor.

Asked what his thoughts were on the current state of the oil industry in southeast Saskatchewan and western Canada generally, Mondor said he knows things have been tough in the last few years, but added, “I’m always an optimist. We’re just pumped about the oil business and the Oil Show.”

He noted that for his own oil company, Aldon Oils, they are keeping busy and are making plans for drilling new wells. He said there are indications of a slow recovery in the area, such as a local oil service company, John Kmita Ltd., buying a new service rig this year.

There are properties and facilities up for sale in the southeast and elsewhere in the province, and it may be an opportune time for businesses to take a look at what moves they might be able to make, he added, noting he is involved with his brother on the western side of the province, such as in the Kindersley area.

Mondor gives all credit for the success of each Oil Show to the 30-member board, with members busy on their committees taking care of each aspect of the show’s activities.

“We want people to come and have a good time,” he added, saying the show is a reflection of the southeast oil industry, with signs of life and activity in the region starting to appear.

“As long as the oil price stays above $60 (per barrel) and the U.S. dollar exchange rate stays at around 74-75 cents, I think it’s going to get busier,” said Mondor.

What he and a lot of operators are looking for right is some consistency in the price of oil, then this will allow them to make their business plans and get the wheels in motion for such activities as drilling oil wells. It takes manpower and machinery to get a well drilled, and it easily costs $1 million or more to drill a well, “so you have to have some certainty in the price.”

Asked if the carbon tax has had an impact on the oil industry as it has on other sectors of the economy, Mondor said, “Overall it takes away from the positivity of the industry. In Saskatchewan, we’re hit twice, as Saskatchewan has their own carbon plan, and the feds have piled on with their carbon tax, so it’s a bit of a downer.”

He added that this tax will only get higher as time goes on.

“I’m all in for doing something about emissions, but the carbon tax is not the place for that,” said Mondor, noting there are other ways to be addressing the issue of greenhouse gas emissions without a punitive tax.

Meantime, he is looking forward to the networking opportunities there will be at the Oil Show, noting that the oil business “is a small industry”, and with many owners and operators converging in the city for the three days of the show, a lot of business will get done along with the visiting.