After working behind the scenes in the province’s oilpatch for more than 70 years, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) is making a big splash by buying a Calgary-based junior oil company with 32,000 developed and undeveloped acres of land and 1,200 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) of production in southeastern Saskatchewan.
"We will be buying all of the issued and outstanding shares of Triwest (Exploration Inc.) for a total consideration of $138.4 million,” said Scott Banda, CEO of Saskatoon-based FCL, the wholesale arm for 235 Western Canadian retail co-operatives.
"From our perspective here at Federated, we’ve been in the crude oil business for 70-odd years in a very quiet way,” Banda told the Leader-Post. "In the last two years, we’ve made it one of our strategic intentions to grow as an organization, specifically within the crude oil business.”
While FCL’s Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina has been in operation for more than 75 years, Banda said Federated has also been acquiring crude oil production in the province for nearly as many years. "We’ve never been an operator. We’ve always been a silent partner.”
With the change in strategic direction two years ago, however, Banda said FCL has been particpating in Crown land sales and consolidating its land position in the southeast.
"We’ve been operating some of our own (production) for about a year now," Banda said, adding that FCL currently has about 1,800 BOPD of light crude oil production in the southeast. "This isn’t completely new to us to be operating. but it definitely changes the game for the way we will operate (in the future).”
When Triwest, a privately held junior oil company with southeastern land and production, put itself on the market, FCL decided to make a bid for the assets, which are mainly conventional Mississippian light crude production in the Estevan area, plus related production facilities and infrastructure.
"In that 32,000 acres we’re acquiring, we’ve got some 1,200 barrels a day of production, plus a whole lot of optimism about what else is there… This puts us up around 3,000 barrels a day."
The development of the Triwest assets will be handled by Adonai Resources Corp. of Regina, which is providing expertise to FCL in the exploration, development and operation of its crude oil assets.
"We have a management agreement with a company called Adonai Resources Corporation,” Banda said. "Triwest will be owned by Federated and Adonai will manage these assets for us."
Banda said crude oil production will provide another revenue stream for Federated, as well as a hedge against rising crude feedstock prices at the refinery complex. "There are two pieces driving that (Triwest acquisition). One is the pure economics of the crude oil business and capturing upstream (profits)… Crude oil is an input into the refinery in Regina. When that input (cost) goes high, which causes us some grief at the refining end, it’s a bit of a hedge.”
While FCL’s crude oil production will provide some security of supply” for the refinery by way of exchanges or trades, Banda added it’s unlikely that Federated’s own oil production will be used as feedstock in the refinery.
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