Just to confirm, I crossed projects in my previous post OilEng...the north verses south comment was for the west Bakken play but it happens to also mirror my thoughts for the Canol too. Maybe you have some insight on that part of the Bakken IFR project (although I recognize your really in the Canol and just harvesting information from IFR as Husky is silent on the play). IFR only gets a "royalty" from the Bakken and IFR is on life support with 40 bbls/day production. I'm sure Pat was hoping the western Bakken would be as big as the eastern Bakken (primary) play and that IFR could fund future plans. It's amazing how well Pat does on the projects but he seems to miss the big prize...it's like IFR is always the bridesmaid but never the bride.
In regard to why Imperial/Exxon paid $20MM...I beleive the majors were largely shut out of the Bakken plays and recognized that they missed the future (they how are ever are very deep in cash and can cherry pick the assets that meet they're ROI formula, they (Shell) sold its position in the Montenay, and then Shell had to buy out juniors and intermediates at huge premiums to get back in....$20MM is a bad day for the majors on a bad call for gas buying. Huskys premium on the land sale said a lot to me. Husky could have bid on the southern lease areas but they bid 6X's the next highest bid that Conoco placed...WHY? ....that is the real question. There is oil in Canol and Bluefish...there is a ton of gas in other formations and Husky saw the prize. These were sealed bids and they we not going to underbid and give up the best lands to others. >$400MM is Husky's work commitment on the northern leases (times two)....$20MM is one or two horizontal wells with the development of a multi-well pad; peanuts to the super majors.
IFR could not finance their desired position in making the bid...IFR was the broke partner....Pat must have been very annoyed with his knowledge of what he preferentially saw in the Slater River/Wilma/Slater wells but inability to play (and pay) with the big boys. MGM did a great job and I think they'll get paid off as will their shareholders. IFR will make money at some point but not until the most prolific portions of the area get developed; Pat and I might rather old though.
What is really exciting, in my opinion, is the Canol and bluefish probably released hydrocarbons in multiple smaller reservoirs that take more geophysical work and more well risk but there will be secondary and tertiary targets...I'm almost positive. Then there is the Cretaceous plays....this area is the future for oil and gas but IFR won't be able to finance what they know is within reach.
Husky is operator...Husky has final say on what happens and what happens is little or nothing as IFR would need to finance the whole re-entry; I think that is currently impossible. Time is working against IFR and the window to execute on the CMV resource development. Its definitely a classic story...