July 09, 2009

Strength of Saskatchewan.

Many immigrants who have just come to Saskatchewan for several years are wondering what makes Saskatchewan’s economy existed. One of my friends also asked me so. Well, I am not an economic specialist and I am an immigrant myself. However, I used to read a lot about this topic in the Central Regina Public Library. Below, there are some cites from various sources discussing about this topic.

Saskatchewan’s economy is mostly based on mineral industry. Starting from exporting potash, and natural gas, by now Saskatchewan takes more attention to agriculture and invests a lot of works for oil sector and industrial transportation. Let’s start with the insights from a local scholar. Lloyd_Barber, The former University of Regina president shares his views on Saskatchewan in an article on Leader Post: “I remember when potash first came in. People thought that potash was going to do for Saskatchewan what oil did for Alberta -- and 50 years later, that may, in fact, be happening. I would discount some of the rosy predictions about potash, but given the world population and the absolute necessity for most soils of the world to have potash, I think there's not much doubt about it in the future. We are the low-cost producer; if we were on tidewater, we'd really be rolling in the dough ... "(Potash careers)

"Now to "come into our own" with respect to petrochemicals, gas and oil, I can never forgive the (T.C.) Douglas government and subsequent governments for the mantra, "We'll keep our gas in the ground until they run out -- then we will have it!" So we didn't get any of the infrastructure, we didn't get any of that stuff that we might've had because we were closer to market. Letting people exploit -- not in the gouging sense, but in the economic sense -- if we'd allowed our resources to be exploited, we would have been enjoying this kind of prosperity much sooner ... We essentially drove out our entrepreneurs. We don't want people making that kind of money!”

Talking about oil, the first thing many Regina people think of is Alberta which is mostly centred on the petroleum industry. It means, in Saskatchewan, oil industry is just a minor branch of its economy. However, by now, as many people know, Bakken forth is believed to be the biggest oil discovery in Saskatchewan since the 1950s. It is driving the Saskatchewan oil patch to record-breaking levels of activity. The Bakken field, a geological formation stretching under southeast Saskatchewan and parts of North Dakota, Montana and southwest Manitoba is also the catalyst fuelling the provincial treasury and hundreds of millions of dollars in oil industry expenditures that are a significant factor in Saskatchewan's current economic boom. By the end of the '90s the United States Geological Service was saying that Bakken contained upwards of 500 billion barrels. While the oil production and activities are in decline, Saskatchewan's heat of petroleum industry is at its peak.

Canada continues to rank first in the world for potash production with most of their potash production concentrated in Saskatchewan. The productive capacity of the Saskatchewan potash industry is 15.7 million tones of product. The province is the largest potash producer in the world and accounts for almost 25 per cent of world potash production. In recent years, Saskatchewan potash sales have reached as high as $3 billion annually according to the government of Saskatchewan.

Mineral production in Saskatchewan is nearly a $10-billion industry, and it is only expected to grow in future years. This status shows that Saskatchewan's economy is strong and the future looks even brighter.

Saskatchewan has a lot of strengths but people traditionally haven't thought of Saskatchewan as a mining province, particularly on the national level. It's a real eye-opener for them to recognize the diversity of Saskatchewan's resource sector and the importance of it and not just on a national scale.

The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Leader Post

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