OIL PERSON OF THE YEAR
THE MEN AND WOMEN OF SASKATCHEWAN’S OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY EMBODY THE BEST QUALITIES OF THE SASKATCHEWAN SPIRIT.
Oil Person Of The Year Award Recipients
2021 Oil Person Of The Year
Grant Fagerheim, CEO of Whitecap Resources Inc., has established himself as a prominent figure in the energy sector. With over 30 years of experience, he has served in both upstream and downstream segments of the industry, and has founded multiple successful energy companies, including Whitecap. Whitecap has experienced significant growth in recent years, with its market capitalization and production doubling. Despite the challenges posed by the industry downturn, the company has maintained its success through careful investments. Whitecap is now one of the largest energy producers in Saskatchewan and is actively working towards becoming a net-zero oil producer.
In addition to his professional achievements, Grant is also a passionate advocate for energy transformation and has served on several corporate and charitable boards. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Petroleum Industry Hall of Fame in 2017, and has received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions to Canada. When he is not working, Grant enjoys playing hockey and spending time with his family.
2019 Oil Person Of The Year
Lane McKay is the founder of Steel Reef Infrastructure Corp., a company specializing in natural gas and liquids processing in Saskatchewan. He was born in Calgary in 1960 and holds a diploma in general insurance administration and risk management from Grant McEwen College in Edmonton. Lane's career in the insurance and private equity industries started with Aoen, where he worked as a commercial marketing broker. In 1990, he co-founded Canada Brokerlink Inc., where he completed 42 acquisitions and became the largest independent property and casualty insurance brokerage in Canada. He later co-founded COSCO Capital Canada, a New York-based private equity investment bank that he built into the leading oil and gas private equity investment bank in North America. Lane sold the company in early 2007, before starting Steel Reef in 2012 with the backing of PFM Capital. Steel Reef has since acquired several gas plants and built an oil pipeline and terminal, with the goal of developing the associated gas system in Saskatchewan and North Dakota. Lane serves on the board of the Kid's Cancer Foundation and the New Jane Institute for Oncology Research. He resides in Calgary with his wife and four children.
2017 Oil Person Of The Year
Rick McHardy was born in Oshawa, Ontario but moved with his family to Saskatoon at the age of nine.
“My dad was a professional engineer who worked for DuPont. When I was nine, he decided he wanted to make a dramatic career change. He got a job in Saskatchewan with the corrections service training prisoners to make furniture. Of course, at the time as a kid, I thought my life was ruined. But then you make new friends and move on,” Rick says.
Rick attended the University of Saskatchewan from which he graduated with degrees in commerce and law.
“At that time in the 1990s, there weren’t a lot of jobs for young lawyers in Saskatchewan so, like a lot of young people at the time, I headed to Calgary.”
Rick practiced corporate and securities law in Calgary until 2004, most recently as a Partner with McCarthy Tetrault LLP.
While Rick’s educational background did not prepare him for the oil and gas industry, junior oil and gas companies made up much of his client base in Calgary. His legal career got him into oil industry boardrooms at a young age and allowed him to learn from “the best of the best”.
Like his father before him, Rick started to look for a career change and the oil and gas industry was a natural fit. In 2004, he left his practice to found Titan Exploration Ltd. which was focused on the Shaunavon play in southwest Sask. Titan’s production grew from zero to approximately 2,300 barrels/day before the company was sold to Canetic in 2008.
Rick started two other companies – Spartan Exploration Ltd. and Spartan Oil Corp. that followed this same cycle that Rick calls “zero to five and out” – building up assets in a junior oil company with an eye to flipping them to a larger one.
“The cycle in the industry was changing with everything getting bigger – bigger deals, bigger companies and we followed that trend.”
In 2013, Rick started Spartan Energy Corp. While most other companies were preoccupied with the Bakken play, Spartan Energy Identified an opportunity to consolidate and develop assets in the conventional Mississippian fairway in southeast Saskatchewan, an older field where drilling dated back to the 1950s and 1960s.
Spartan Energy initially grew production through drilling and a few acquisitions which brought the company to around 9,300 barrels/day in early 2016. Then, the industry was sent reeling by the downturn in oil prices. Spartan Energy was able to take advantage of the downturn through an aggressive round of acquisitions that dramatically increased its assets. Today, the company that began as a $25 million start-up has grown to produce 21,000 barrels/day, to hold a land base of 376,000 acres, and to have a market capitalization of $1.4 billion.
Despite the downturn in the industry, Rick says that Spartan is “the best company we’ve ever been.”
“We are generating positive cash flow at $40 a barrel, so anything north of that puts us in good shape.”
Outside of work, Rick and his wife have two teenage boys. A lot of his spare time is taken up watching his older son play junior hockey in Camrose. Rick and his wife also enjoy traveling and spending time at their cabin in Vernon.
2015 Oil Person Of The Year
Neil Roszell has built a career by focusing on the phrase “what’s old is new again”. His technical innovation has helped revolutionize the oil industry in Saskatchewan by bringing old, nearly-dead plays back to life.
Neil was born in 1968 in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. His father was in the grain handling business so Neil moved around as a child, spending time in small towns across the province including Shaunavon and Fort Qu’Appelle. He graduated in 1991 from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Systems Engineering.
During his studies in the Engineering Co-op program, he found his passion for the oil and gas industry while doing work-study internships with Mobil Oil and SaskOil. After graduation, he joined SaskOil and worked with many other future oil patch business leaders including Scott Saxberg, Trent Yanko, and Paul Colborne.
Neil later held senior engineering roles at Remington Energy followed by a period at Suncor. He started his career as an entrepreneur when he joined Great Northern Exploration as the Vice President of Engineering. After assisting in building and selling Great Northern Exploration, he started down the path of founding, growing, and selling a string of companies.
He became President and COO of Prairie Schooner Petroleum, which was later sold to True Energy. He then returned to his Saskatchewan roots as the President and CEO of Wild River Resources, a company focused on horizontal multi-frac drilling in the Shaunavon area of southwestern Saskatchewan, a company he eventually sold to Crescent Point. He then founded Wild Stream Exploration, again in the Shaunavon area, and again sold to Crescent Point.
His next venture, Raging River Exploration, included the launch of his oilfield revitalization initiatives.
The Viking oil play in the Kindersley area was discovered in the 1940s but had dwindled to almost nothing. Over the last five years, a number of companies including Raging River Exploration have brought the playback to life, roughly tripling the area's production.
With Neil at the helm of Raging River, the company grew from a small 1,000 barrel-per-day company in 2012 to become one of the dominant forces in the Kindersley area. In 2015, its current production in the Kindersley area exceeds 13,000 barrels per day. Raging River is now one of the most active drillers in Saskatchewan with approximately 250 wells drilled in the Kindersley area in 2014.
Raging River continues to be a technology leader in the development of the Viking light oil resource and is currently regarded as one of the premier intermediate oil companies in Canada.
Neil is the past director of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He is a dedicated family man who is married with three children. He enjoys fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting especially when he can do it right here in Saskatchewan. Returning to his roots most summers you can find him and his extended family enjoying the beautiful Saskatchewan summers on Lake Diefenbaker.
2013 Oil Person Of The Year
Derrick Big Eagle
Derrick Big Eagle was born in Manor, Saskatchewan. As a youngster, Derrick admired the people in his community, including his father, who worked on the oil rigs. He sought the prestige his father enjoyed and was motivated to earn that respect and prestige in his own right.
At the age of 15, Derrick was offered the opportunity to work in the Drilling Industry. The hardworking teenager soon parlayed that summer stint a career.
After he graduated from high school, he became a full-time “roughneck”. By the age of 20, and working with various contractors, he became the youngest driller in Saskatchewan’s regional oil industry. When he turned 25, he was the youngest Drilling Rig Manager in SE Saskatchewan. Five years later, he turned his focus and became a Drillling consultant. Derrick worked for numerous small E & P companies but worked very closely with Northrock Resources for 4 years. During this time Northrock’s production went from 800bbls/day to over 7000 bbls/day and Derrick earned Northrock’s award for Health Safety and Environment.
At 35 years of age, he Co-founded Eagle Drilling Services Ltd. to become the youngest owner of a drilling company in Canada. A member of the Ocean Man First Nation, he also became the first aboriginal to own and operate such an enterprise. The Saskatchewan-based business, which serviced the burgeoning Canadian Bakken oilfield area, achieved rapid growth in three years through advanced technology and commitment to its employees’ health and safety.
In 2011, Eagle Drilling was acquired by CanElson for $78 Million. In the year prior to the acquisition, Daily Oil Bulletin records showed Eagle drilled 152 wells in Canada. Eagle’s key customers were Crescent Point Energy Corp. (57 wells) and PetroBakken Energy Ltd. (35 wells).
CanElson’s fleet of 27 Rigs hold operations in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Mexico, and the United States (Texas and North Dakota). Derrick held the position as Vice President of Business Development and was responsible for the leadership and coordination of CanElson’s business development, marketing and expansion incentives in new geographic regions and to explore opportunities to expand into different types of equipment used in the current and expanding markets. "Eagle is one of the most respected contract drilling providers operating in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba that has consistently realized higher than industry utilization levels and also has a reputation as an efficient and safe drilling contractor,” said CanElson President and CEO Randy Hawkings in a news release.
And that’s not all.
In 2006, Derrick won the ABEX New Venture Award and Business of the Year Award.
In 2007 he won Aboriginal Business of the Year 2007.
In 2011, Derrick founed Element Technical Services in Carlyle Saskatchewan and continues to sit on the Board of directors. Element is a High level Fracing company that services Saskatchewan ,Manitoba and is currently putting the focus on Alberta. This company has grown organically from inception and boasts 3 working frac spreads and a team of the industry’s most well recognized technical personnel.
Then in 2012, Derrick Co-Founded Cheveyo Energy Inc., a new Oil & Gas Exploration and Production company. Derrick currently serves as the company’s Director, President, and CEO. Chevayo is focused in South East Saskatchewan where he and his team are committed to the same pride, passion, and determination in ensuring the success of this company.
If he isn’t busy enough, Derrick also is the Founder/Chairman, President, and CEO of Eagle Motorsports, which is Canada’s First Dirt Modified race car Fabrication, car sales, and parts distributor.
Today Derrick has earned the sought-after prestige and respect – not only from his community but from his employees and throughout the oil industry. Derrick credits his strong sense of family as being a motivator to build family-orientated companies. Happily married, he and his wife Shelley, have two boys, Masen and Jett.
2011 Oil Person Of The Year
Scott Saxberg was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba. He received his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba where he worked his way through college filming training videos for the Winnipeg Jets.
Fresh out of college, he joined SaskOil, later known as Wascana Energy in Regina where he was placed with the Pasqua Resources division of the company.
He later joined Numac Energy where he worked until 1996. Then a group he had worked with at Pasqua began a start-up called Magin Energy. Scott started at Magin as a senior engineer but quickly rose to manager of business development by 1999.
After the company was acquired in 2001 by NCE Petrofund Corp., he decided the time was right to move to Calgary, where the energy sector was booming.
There, he launched Crescent Point with partner Paul Colborne in 2001 (the company is named after the road leading to the Saxberg family’s cottage in Thunder Bay, Ontario).
Starting from their first acquisition in Manor, Saskatchewan in 2001, Crescent Point rose to become one of the defining companies in the Bakken play. In 2010, it ranked second in the province for overall oil production and in 2011 was the top-ranked company for production in the Southeast Saskatchewan region – the Bakken in particular.
Crescent Point was noted as the most active driller in Southeast Saskatchewan with 184 wells drilled in 2010. By 2011, Crescent Point had grown to become a $4 billion company with goals to grow much larger.
Scott and Crescent Point have also been generous corporate citizens. They donated over $5 million to the STARS air ambulance program, an initiative on which they had led the way for four years. They have donated to the library, the hockey rink, and other causes in Estevan as well as the curling rink in Stoughton.
In Calgary, they remained active patrons of the Calgary Science Centre and the ‘Inn From the Cold’ shelters.
2009 Oil Person Of The Year
Gregg Smith was born in Brantford, Ontario but grew up and went to school in Mississauga, Ontario. After high school, he initially went to the University of Guelph to study general science with a focus on math and physics.
Gregg then transferred to the University of British Columbia where the milder climate gave him more time to train for his passion, Olympic canoe racing. He was a member of Canada’s National team from 1973 to 1980 and a member of Canada’s Olympic teams in 1976 and 1980.
The 1980 Olympics, however, were boycotted by Western countries – ironically because of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This was an important transition year for Gregg; after seeing a year’s worth of training wasted, he decided it was time to focus on his studies to find a future career. He chose geophysics.
Gregg graduated with an honors degree in geophysics in 1983. His first job out of college was at ESSO Resources, where he remained until 1992. There, he had the privilege of working on petroleum projects in the Beaufort Sea and in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
With the major oil companies becoming more focused on heavy oil in the early 1990s, Gregg felt it was time to move on to more challenging work. In 1992, he joined West Coast Petroleum (which eventually became Numac Energy) where he worked as a senior geophysicist until 1996. He served in similar capacities with HCO Energy, Pinnacle Resources, and Newport Petroleum. In 2000, after Newport had been acquired by Hunt Oil, Gregg was promoted to the position of Exploration Manager.
In 2003, Gregg joined Petrobank as their Vice President, Canada. Gregg describes the company at that time as being small and flexible enough that he could serve as Senior Geophysicist, Exploration Vice-President, and Senior Vice-President of the business unit at the same time. But, as the company grew, it became an increasing challenge for him to juggle his many roles so he decided to focus on running the company’s business unit. In 2009, he held the titles of Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada.
In that role, he has served as part of the team that has made Petrobank one of the most important players in the Weyburn oil patch. In 2008, Petrobank had the distinction of being the most active driller of Bakken-area wells.
The company was at the forefront of finding innovative ways to improve extraction technologies for the increased production and recovery of Bakken oil in the province. In addition, they have an impressive record of environmental innovation. They have built efficiently designed facilities to treat the oil and dispose of wastewater. They have constructed gas plants aimed at capturing the liquids-rich natural gas that is produced along with the Bakken oil, thereby reducing methane emissions.
Gregg has always emphasized that this success was a team effort and describes himself as “standing on the shoulders of giants.” In his words, Petrobank is made up of a team of heroes, each of whom brings a high level of talent and expertise.
When he wasn’t working, Gregg still enjoys canoeing but doesn’t get to do it as much as he would like to. However, through his efforts, Petrobank became a sponsor of Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic gold and silver medalist on Canada’s Olympic canoeing team.
Gregg’s career has brought him back to Saskatchewan time and again. He is proud to have contributed to the growth of the province’s petroleum sector.
2007 Oil Person Of The Year
Trent Yanko was born, raised, and educated in Regina. At 40 years old, Trent is one of the younger recipients of this award. He has over 17 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.
He received a B.Sc. in Engineering from the University of Regina. He is a registered engineer in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as being a member of the National Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum.
He started his career as a reservoir engineer with SaskOil. He held positions of increasing responsibility with companies like Startech Energy and Lateral Vector Resources.
He was vice-president of production of StarPoint Energy, where he was instrumental in that company’s growth from 250 to 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
He founded, financed, and ran two companies, Drill X Energy and X-Terra Corp., both of which he ran successfully until they were sold.
Trent’s crowning achievement was Mission Oil and Gas Inc., of which he was founder, president, and CEO.
Mission was a leader in developing the Bakken play in southeast Saskatchewan.
It is not only the oil play itself that is significant but also the way it has been developed. Mission pioneered the concept and commercialization of new methods used to develop the play.
Mission was the first company in Saskatchewan to use fracture stimulating techniques to increase recovery rates for horizontal wells.
In early 2007, Oil-sands Review magazine was quoted as saying:
“Mission Oil and Gas have established the lead in exploiting the Middle Bakken north of the 49th parallel by applying uniquely Canadian unconventional petroleum economics. Essentially, it is a resource play concept that seeks to turn oilfield production into a manufacturing process.”
By 2007, Crescent Point, which acquired Mission, became the dominant player in the Bakken play, holding high working interests in 215 sections of land. Mission was the first to recognize it as a horizontal play and drilled nearly 100 horizontal wells by the end of 2006.
Under Mission’s leadership, the Bakken pool production has grown from zero in 2004 to nearly 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2007.
Mission has the enviable record, at the end of 2006, of having drilled 146 wells in the Bakken pool with a 100 percent success rate.
The significance of the Bakken play and Mission’s role in developing it cannot be overstated.
But talking about things like ‘barrels of oil per day and ‘returns to investors’ doesn’t give the full picture of the impact of the play and Mission’s development of it.
Centered around Stoughton, a town of about 700, Mission’s activities have helped revive the community and bring people back who had left to look for jobs elsewhere.
The mission itself employed around 300 people in drilling and construction last year. Trent has set the tone for good corporate citizenship by personally delivering Mission’s donation of $110,000 to help complete Stoughton’s municipal recreation facility.
Trent’s hard work, innovation, and dedication to the Saskatchewan industry is an inspiration for all of us.
2005 Oil Person Of The Year
2003 Oil Person Of The Year
2001 Oil Persons Of The Year
Darcy Cretin and Susan Hancock and Brain Stevens
In 2001, the most significant development in the Saskatchewan Oil Industry in the past few years had been the Weyburn field CO2 miscible flood. The project had been constructed and operated by PanCanadian.
The Weyburn field covered 180 square kilometers and was one of the largest medium-sour crude oil reservoirs in Canada. The injection of CO2 mobilized oil left in the reservoir following completion of the prior water injection increases ultimate recovery.
The project was to inject 95 million cubic feet per day of CO2 into the 46-year-old field. CO2 injection started in October 2000 and the process was expected to increase oil production by more than 50% to 30,000 barrels per day. The 1.1 billion dollar project would extend the life of the Weyburn field by 25 years and another 120 million barrels from the reservoir.
In addition to giving new life to an old field, the CO2 miscible project had the potential to be recognized as Canada’s first and largest joint implementation project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Weyburn project was expected to sequester about 14 million tonnes of CO2 that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere. This would equate to removing more than 200,000 cars, or 40% of the vehicles in Saskatchewan from the road for 15 years.
PanCanadian partnered with the Dakota Gasification Company of Bismarck, North Dakota for the project. They built a 325-kilometer pipeline from the Great Plains Synfuel Plant at Beulah to carry CO2 to the Weyburn oilfield.
The Weyburn site is also attracting international attention. To learn more about what happens to the CO2 once it has been injected, the project was the site of an international research study conducted under the auspices of the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Program.
Many contractors and consultants had a part in developing the Weyburn project. Many PanCanadian employees participated directly in project development, construction, and operations. We cannot recognize them all this evening but can and will recognize three key individuals who work for PanCanadian who were instrumental in moving the project forward and we believe appropriately represent all who played a part.
PanCanadian’s 2001 Weyburn Production Superintendent and Vice-Chairman of the Weyburn Oil Show, was one of those three.
In 2001, Darcy had been with PanCanadian for 18 years, with the last four spent in Weyburn. Darcy had managed the Weyburn operation through project construction and start-up of CO2 Injection.
Darcy has seen a lot of Canada in his life. Born in the Northwest Territories, grew up in Cape Breton, moved to Alberta as a teenager, educated at SAIT in Calgary, graduating with a Diploma in Petroleum Technology, has worked with PanCanadian in Strathmore, Calgary, Brooks, and Weyburn.
In addition to the Oil Show, Darcy served on the Board of the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce and coached his son’s hockey team.
Susan has spent three years and a half years as Project Manager CO2 supply contract negotiations, royalty negotiations with the Saskatchewan Provincial Government, and on the development of the project itself.
Susan is a five-year PanCanadian employee and is now Manager Engineering Operations in the Great Plains Business Unit.
Susan was born and raised in England, migrated to Canada, and received her Engineering degree from the University of Calgary.
Brian is the third PanCanadian employee being recognized this evening. For a period of four years, during the development of the Weyburn CO2 project, Brian was General Manager of PanCanadian’s Voyager Business Unit. The Unit developed the Weyburn project under Brian’s leadership.
Brian is a 30-year PanCanadian employee and is currently working in New Ventures leading PanCanadian’s Technology Commercialization group.
Brian is a native of Saskatchewan, born in Regina, and attended the University of Calgary earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1971, a Masters in Chemical Engineering in 1977 and an MBA in 1981.
Clayton was born in 1948 in Edmonton, Alberta. He graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta…
1999 Oil Persons Of The Year
In 1999, the Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year award was presented to not one individual, but to a team of three individuals who had met the high standard and were jointly responsible for the discovery of the Tyvan play near Montmarte, Saskatchewan. The 1999 Oilman of the Year Award was given to the TriLink Resources team of Phillip Moore, Bob Alway, and Bev Shatosky.
This discovery was significant for a number of reasons – one of which that it extended the boundaries of the traditional Saskatchewan oil drilling areas.
Phillip Moore was the prime exploration manager and geophysicist involved in this discovery and had been with TriLink for over seven years prior to receiving the Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year award. In the course of this project, Phillip had expended over two million dollars shooing 3-dimensional seismic on a broad scale. Over 800 miles of 3-D seismic produced substantial results.
Bob Alway was the main geologist on this team and had been with TriLink for over six years prior to receiving the Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year award. His contribution in the mapping interpretation and identification of what is the largest Rivercontinuous build-up in one pool has been invaluable.
Lastly, Bev Shatosky was responsible for the land assembly on this team and dealt with over 3,000 landowners to provide TriLink and the team with secure locations to develop this play.
The discovery and subsequent development of this substantial project was truly a team effort. In 1999, the team had together discovered over 50 million barrels of oil in place, and there was significantly more identified on seismic. The early established production rate for the pool was over 3,000 barrels per day. In total, TriLink had invested over $65 million into their Red River play throughout Saskatchewan.
1997 Oil Person Of The Year
Bob was born in Kirkland, Ontario in 1952 and grew up in the gold mining town of Larder Lake, Ontario. After receiving his degree from the University of Waterloo in 1979, Bob took his first job with BP Canada as a geologist on the Wolf Lake Project. He later moved on to work with Shell Canada as an exploration geologist. During his 13 years at Shell, he was involved in the discovery of 12 major oil and gas pools for the company.
In 1993, Bob made his move to a new smaller oil company that was growing rapidly in western Canada. He moved to Berkeley Petroleum as their Exploration Manager. At Berkeley, he developed and executed his theory on the Ordovician and its deep play potential.
Bob is famed for his tireless work nurturing and developing the deep Ordovician play in Southeast Saskatchewan. When he was finally able to test his idea in Midale, he met with extraordinary success that led to another drilling boom in Saskatchewan. As a direct result of his efforts, many new companies came to the province to examine deep opportunities.
1995 Oil Person Of The Year
Dale was born in Calgary and attended the University of Colorado, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in 1985. During his schooling, Dale worked in the oil business to support his education, which also led to his desire to make a career in the energy field.
Dale began his career with Mission Resources Limited. In 1989, he joined Grad and Walker Energy. Dale moved rapidly up the ladder at Grad and Walker from Exploration Geologist to Chief Geologist. Recognizing the potential of untested reservoirs led to exploration work on these possible hydrocarbon-bearing formations and led to two major discoveries.
Dale’s exploration talents led to the discovery of the Marengo and Mantario oil fields, which together amount to the largest oil discovery in Saskatchewan from 1980-1995.
1993 Oil Person Of The Year
Rick Hayward was born in Oxbow, Saskatchewan, and has lived there almost all his life.
Rick started on a drilling crew with Commonwealth Drilling in 1964 and has been in the industry in one form or another ever since. After a year with Commonwealth, he worked as a Derrickman with Antelope Drilling (now Sedco). At that time, Sedco was regarded as the premier drilling company in Canada to work for. Rick stayed with Sedco for about 10 years, first in drilling then soon as a tool-pusher.
He left Sedco to take a job with Chal-Bert Drilling. After 4 years as Superintendent, he left Chal-Bert to do well-site supervision for several years for a variety of oil companies.
In the fall of 1985, Rick started Big Sky Drilling Inc. He bought a rig in Wyoming and brought it to Saskatchewan, rigging it up and going to work for Voyager Petroleum Ltd.
By spring of 1986, oil prices had fallen dramatically and as always in these cases, drilling came almost to a halt. However, by the fall of 1986, Rick started to do a few jobs for Upton Resources, Sceptre Resources, and Coho Resources. Gradually things picked up to the point that Coho had his rig busy most of the time so in the fall of 1987 he needed to invest in a second rig.
Over the next four years, he invested in three more rigs. At that point, he capped the company’s equipment at five rigs as this was the level at which he felt he could maintain personalized service and good local crews.
By 1993, Rick’s company, Big Sky Drilling, had successfully drilled 554 wells. In May of 1990, Big Sky Drilling started in the infant industry of Horizontal Drilling. Upton Resources and Big Sky Drilling both drilled their first horizontal well together, relying on each other’s experience in that area. Rick has drilled over 100 horizontal wells of all configurations for a variety of operators throughout South East Saskatchewan.
1991 Oil Person Of The Year
Dean Potter was born in 1953 in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was raised on a farm just outside the city and attended the University of Regina where he received a Masters's Degree in Geology. During his studies at the University of Regina, Dean spent six summers mapping and evaluating mineral deposits in northern Saskatchewan. After graduating in 1980 he joined SaskOil as an exploration geologist and later, with Precambrian Shield Resources, became responsible for all exploration in Saskatchewan. Later when Precambrian became Mark Resources he took on additional responsibility for exploration activities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and central Alberta, North Dakota, and Montana. A couple of years prior to 1991, acting on a hunch, Dean began investigating the geology directly south of the Saskatchewan border. He knew that five times as many exploratory wells had been drilled on the Montana side, close to our border, and Dean’s hunch was that extending the U.S. data could lead him to oil under Saskatchewan wheat fields. After six painstaking months of collating logs from the U.S., an exciting trend started to appear. Based on this trend analysis, Dean convinced Mark Resources to drill a well. On December 25, 1989, the well was completed and Dean Potter had discovered what was probably the largest conventional oil discovery in Saskatchewan in years. It had become known as the Minton Oil Pool. This one well had once again spurred significant interest in deep-well exploration in South Central Saskatchewan and had caused millions of dollars to flow to our province.