While the trend towards horizontal drilling from a single pad might shrink the “footprint” of the oil and gas industry, requiring less surface land to be acquired by firms in the land business, the industry leader doesn’t see that as any great threat to his business.
In fact, he says rising drilling and land acquisition activity has meant increased business the past couple of years.
Gregg Scott, president of Calgary-based Scott Land & Lease Ltd., which has been the leading land agency involved in oil and gas leasing in Canada for the last 20 years, says last year’s $4.13 billion in cash bonus bids for Crown lands across Canada, $1.45 billion of which were acquired by his firm, signifies growing positive trends for the business.
“No question the big money is following unconventional resource play trends and mostly oil and liquids,” says Scott. “Oilsands land buying activity has slowed in the past couple of years but the hot plays around Western Canada … in the Montney, Duvernay shale, Swan Hills, Bakken, Nordegg etc. have seen a lot of very competitive bidding activity at land sales. This wonderful industry we are in is such that the next great play is probably being quietly acquired as we speak before it hits most companies’ radar screens.”
Scott points to a number of positives for his sector, including $100 a bbl oil, the need for large blocks of land for resource plays like shale gas and tight oil, the success of new technologies in these new plays, such as the Bakken tight oil play in Saskatchewan and liquids-rich shale gas plays, rising competition by industry to get in on those plays, and the need for significant investments in them.
The company, which has 185 employees and retains several consultants on an ongoing basis, has branch offices in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Lloydminster and Regina. About half of its employees are landmen, which was Scott’s background for 11 years, before founding his company in 1992.
Scott Land & Lease has diversified into other sectors such as cell-tower site acquisition in the telecommunication industry and land acquisition and stakeholder engagement in the power sector.
It is also involved in the mining sector and has become the most active land company in Saskatchewan’s potash industry.
The Alberta government collected $79.86 million at Wednesday’s land sale, as a total of 140,967 hectares exchanged hands at an average of $566.49 per hectare. Scott Land & Lease Ltd. acquired a 2,528-hectare parcel for $7.21 million in the area around 67-07-W6, paying an average of $2,852.67. Windfall Resources Ltd. produced the per-hectare high of $16,842, paying a total bonus of $1.08 million for a 64-hectare lease. The broker acquired the rights to the northeast quarter of section three at 66-13-W5.
Saskatchewan’s oil patch continues to attract interest and investors, as shown by the results from the first sale of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights for 2012. The highest price on a per-hectare basis was $10,405. Scott Land & Lease Ltd. bid $168,462 for a 16-hectare lease parcel south of Lashburn.
Scott Land & Lease Ltd. has achieved remarkable success since Gregg Scott founded it 20 years ago to become the leading land company in Western Canada, now with six strategic locations in Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan.
John Houghton, former counsel with the Calgary office of Lawson Lundell, has joined Scott Land as vice-president of corporate development. It’s a good fit as Houghton shares the company’s strong philanthropic culture; he was a volunteer with the ’88 Winter Olympics, Heritage Park Foundation, and is incoming chair of Parks Foundation Calgary.
John (JR) can be reached at 403-261-6528 or at email@example.com.
By David Parker, The Calgary Herald, February 3, 2012