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Saskatchewan: From the Plains Indian word "kisiskatchewan" which means swiftly flowing river

Saskatchewan ranks:

  • third in Canada in swiftly flowing natural gas reserves and production
  • third in Canada in swiftly flowing crude oil reserves
  • second in Canada in swiftly flowing crude oil production
  • first in the world in uranium production (and being a solid, uranium doesn’t flow, swiftly or otherwise)

23. 3,356 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves

Tour Stop: Regina

Saskatchewan has 3,356 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Saskatchewan produced 560 million cubic feet of marketed natural gas per day in 2008. In both reserves and production of natural gas, Saskatchewan ranks third in Canada behind Alberta and British Columbia.

Saskatchewan consumes 550 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, most of which is used as fuel for heating. The province also uses natural gas in two cogeneration plants and in three peaking stations – plants that come on-line at times of peak electricity use.

Behold, the headquarters of SaskEnergy Incorporated, responsible for distributing Saskatchewan’s natural gas to consumers! What do you think, Norm? Well, don’t stand outside looking at it too long, there’s a reason natural gas is Canada’s most popular source for heating. Turn on the cold!

24. 2.3 billion barrels

Tour Stop: Flying toward McArthur River

Estimates of recoverable bitumen from Saskatchewan’s oil sands range from 1.2 to 2.3 billion barrels. The oil sands deposits in Saskatchewan are an extension of the Athabasca Oil Sands that continue across the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

To date, there has been no production from the Saskatchewan deposits although one oil sands company has taken a 620,000-acre land position. Current activity includes delineating the resource potential and testing recovery methods, which will likely be in-situ as opposed to surface mining.

Norm’s getting pretty good at sighting from the air, and the ground below him is filled with untapped oil sands. How can he tell? Well, he’s cheating a little: but a guidebook’s not so bad after all.

25. 300,000 tonnes of U308

Tour stop: McArthur River

Saskatchewan has almost 300,000 tonnes of U3O8 (triuranium octoxide) reserves. The province is the world's largest producer of natural uranium – 9,001 tonnes in 2008, or approximately 21 per cent of total world production.

Saskatchewan’s uranium reserves contain about four times more energy than all known Canadian conventional oil reserves (not including the Athabasca oil sands). The world’s largest high-grade uranium mine is located in Saskatchewan as are the two largest uranium mills in the world.

With 436 nuclear reactors currently in service throughout the world, 50 under construction and another 432 either planned or proposed, the demand for Saskatchewan’s uranium will only increase.

Sure, it’s a long drive out to McArthur River. Sure, Norm had to go through some stringent security (even fictional characters don’t get to waltz into uranium mines). But do you know how they get deeper into the mines they’ve already dug? They dynamite them! Kapow! Pretty powerful, eh Norm? Now back to Regina, and then: Manitoba.

26. 440,000 barrels per day

Tour Stop: Weyburn

Conventional oil production in Saskatchewan averaged 440,000 barrels per day, second in Canada behind Alberta. At 1.2 billion barrels, Saskatchewan’s conventional oil reserves rank third in Canada behind Alberta and the East Coast Offshore.

Saskatchewan is also the home of the Weyburn oil field, a very productive oil field as well as the largest carbon sequestration project in the world. Carbon dioxide is piped from a coal gasification plant in North Dakota and injected into the Weyburn reservoir to enhance oil recovery. Any carbon dioxide recovered with the oil production is recycled back into the reservoir. It is estimated that, by the end of the project, about 30 million tonnes of CO2 will have been safely sequestered – the equivalent taking about 6.7 million cars off the road for an entire year. A true win-win situation.

The first major oil discovery in Saskatchewan was in 1957 southeast of Weyburn. Today, the Weyburn oil field still produces crude oil, leaving Norm with time to take in a game. What? Can’t believe Norm hasn’t planned the tour in order to see the Weyburn Red Wings take on the Yorkton Terriers or better yet the Melville Millionaires! Every good road trip requires time to enjoy the little things, after all. See you later, Saskatchewan.

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