After engaging in an extensive coal exploration program, Saturn Minerals Inc.
[SMI-TSXV] found itself also adopting the moniker of oil explorer. Now, on top of having one
of the largest coal discoveries in Canada, Saturn can also boast a claim to some of the largest
oil and gas blocks in Saskatchewan.
Located to the north of the Bakken, and on the east side of the province, near the
Manitoba border, Saturn’s lands incorporate 370,000 acres of oil rights. After acquiring the
lands for coal exploration, discoveries of oil seeps with great reservoir quality rock were
encountered in 2010. “Witnessing source rock is like spoting the smoking gun for us,” says
Stan Szary, President and CEO of Saturn Minerals. “That rock is what you’ll !nd in an oil !eld.
So if you put this rock under the right heat and pressure, it’ll start sweating out oil.” The
source rock in question was 2.7 metres in thickness, ranging in total organic content (TOC)
levels from 7-14%, on a comparative basis, the Bakken formation to the south averages 11%
Since Saturn’s team was initially assembled for the coal play (which is still a key asset
in the company’s future plans), the company enlisted a strategic partnership with people
who knew the area. This rally cry came in the form of Murray Swanson and Chris Barton, who
founded the private company, Vector Exploration, in order to work solely on Saturn’s holdings.
The due came fresh o" the sale of their former company, Reliable Energy Corp. to Crescent
Point Energy Corp. [CPG-TSX] in March 2012 for nearly $100 million. “We were very pleased
to !nalize an agreement with the Vector Team” says Szary. “The partnership enables us to
easily transition our oil holdings into an operating entity with an establish team.”
Swanson and Barton are no strangers to Saskatchewan oil plays. With Reliable alone,
they successfully identi!ed and drilled over 70 wells in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, all into
similar geology as that of Saturn’s. Moving forward, the partnership will be working on
getting to know their oil window more intimately. First will be an extensive 2D seismic
program to take a better look at the deeper basins. Following which, will be a series of 3 to 4
exploratory wells. Given that the oil they are targeting is light oil that only requires conventional
vertical wells, a safe estimate for well costs in this area is anywhere from $300,000 to
Through the development process, Saturn will be looking for support from
neighbouring First Nations bands. In an e"ort to bring the communities into the exploration
process, Saturn helped form Inowending Exploration and Development Corp. as a First
Nations natural resource company. The e"ort is designed to create opportunity and wealth.
The prospect of developing both coal and oil of this magnitude should help to further those