Crown land spending in the first half of 2016 in Canada was $80.18 million, which is the lowest for a six-month period for at least 21 years, according to electronic data collected by the Daily Oil Bulletin.
Industry has acquired 492,844 hectares at an average price of $162.69 so far this year. At the six-month mark of 2015, government bonus revenue was $205.81 million, which was spent to pick up 1.09 million hectares at an average price of $188.25.
The second-lowest bonus total for a six-month period from 1995-2016 was in 2015. By contrast, the highest collected during a six-month period was in 2006, when industry shelled out $2.66 billion during a rush to tie up oilsands acreage.
While Crown spending has been very weak so far in 2016, the province carried the lion’s share of the Crown land spending in the first half of the year. Year-to-date, the province has attracted $63.77 million in bonus revenue on 428,269 hectares at an average price of $148.91. To the same point of 2015, industry had paid $165.06 million for 1.01 million hectares at an average price of $164.15.
B.C. land sales continue sluggish pace
From a period spanning 1978-2015, the lowest bonus haul in a single year for B.C. was $16.72 million in 1982, and the second lowest was in 2015 at $18.36 million.
After six sales so far in 2016, the province has collected $4.22 million, with six sales left this year to avoid the low watermark.
So far in 2016, the province has sold 27,377 hectares at an average price of $154.20.
To the same point of 2015, B.C. had collected $6.77 million on 24,203 hectares at an average of $279.68.
The heyday for land buying in Northeast B.C. occurred in the late 2000s, when companies scooped up acreage prospective for unconventional natural gas in the Horn River and Montney. The peak of this land rush came in 2008, when industry paid $2.66 billion for 756,752 hectares. In 2007, the government collected $1.05 billion in bonus bids.
More robust land prices in B.C. await a strong resurgence in gas prices and demand, which likely means LNG approvals.
Saskatchewan, Manitoba spending down
Over the first six months of the year, Saskatchewan Crown land spending is down as well at $12.04 million. Industry has acquired 35,784 hectares at an average price of $336.59. To the same point of 2015, industry had spent $32.65 million tying up 62,194 hectares at an average price of $525.
Manitoba spending, meanwhile, dove to $141,859 on 1,413.62 hectares at an average price of $100.35. Over the same timeframe of 2015, the province had collected $1.33 million on 1,360 hectares at an average of $979.50.
Scott Land top Crown buyer in Canada
Scott Land & Lease Ltd. was the top buyer of Crown land in the first half of 2016, spending $34.55 million, with $29.49 million doled out for acreage in Alberta.
The broker acquired 154,410 hectares on behalf of its clients for the six-month period at an average price of $223.77. Scott Land picked up 126,803 hectares in Alberta from January-June 2016.
The top bonus for a single parcel occurred at the June 22, 2016, land sale, where Plunkett Resources Ltd. acquired a parcel for $3.48 million in the Athabasca oilsands area. Several other multimillion-dollar parcels that were sold in the Athabasca oilsands area at the auction, and were also acquired by Plunkett.