Access Energy unsuccessful in its bids to obtain Saskatchewan oil sands exploratory permits
Friday, August 15th 2008
On July 24, 2008, Access Energy Inc. announced that it intended to submit bids for all five of the oil sands exploratory permits covering approximately 810,000 acres that were posted for sale by the Province of Saskatchewan on May 29, 2008.
Yesterday, the Province of Saskatchewan announced that there were no successful bidders for these oil sands exploratory permits.
Paul A. Parisotto, President & CEO, stated, “We are disappointed that the Province of Saskatchewan determined that the bids for these oil sands exploratory permits were not acceptable. The acquisition of the permits fits within the Company’s mission to acquire, explore and develop unconventional oil in western Canada, and therefore we intend to ask the Province to re-post these permits for bidding”.
Chief Louie Chanalquay of the Buffalo River Dene Nation (“BRDN”) stated that “The members of the Buffalo River Dene Nation are very disappointed that the Province did not grant the oil sands exploratory permits to Access Energy so that the Company can begin exploration work which in turn will lead to employment, infrastructure improvements, capacity building, and eventually self-sustainability for our members”.
In addition, Mr. Parisotto provided the following information in relation to Access Energy’s bids for these oil sands exploratory permits:
– Access Energy entered into an exclusive and binding Impact Benefit Agreement and Joint Venture Agreement with the Buffalo River Dene Nation in May 2007 which gives the Company exclusive surface access to approximately 3,000,000 acres of the BRDN’s traditional lands; – Access Energy’s agreements with the BRDN run until at least May 2027; – These oil sands exploratory permits fall within the traditional lands of the BRDN and are covered by those agreements; and,
– As part of the bidding process for these oil sands exploratory permits, the Province of Saskatchewan placed a restriction stating that “These mineral rights are located under Crown resource lands administered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. Prior to the approval of any surface dispositions that may adversely affect Treaty or Aboriginal rights, the Ministry of Environment will be required to undertake consultations in accordance with the Government of Saskatchewan Interim Guide for Consultation with First Nations and Métis People (the “Guide”).” (Province of Saskatchewan Public Notice No. 324, Specific Restriction S32)
There is no assurance that Access Energy will be successful in getting the Province to re-post these oil sands exploratory permits, or in its bids for such permits.
Access Energy Inc. – a private Canadian company – is engaged in the business of exploring for, developing and operating unconventional oil and gas projects. Such projects may include oil produced from tar sands, also referred to as oil sands, or bituminous sands, which are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen.