Western Canada leasing: 2015 spend down as low commodity prices weigh on activity

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Report summary

Western Canada attracted Cdn$373.57 million in lease bonuses in 2015, the lowest on record since Wood Mackenzie began keeping track in 1993. A total of 18,104 square kilometres (4.47 million acres) were acquired in 2015, almost a 26% increase from the previous year. Despite the year-on-year increase in acreage purchased, low bid prices per acre accounted for a higher percentage of the total number of bids. As acreage prices come down, it provides an opportunity for companies with strong balance sheets to invest counter cyclically and reload on acreage at lower prices. In 2016, o perators will likely look for nearby expiring acreage within core areas in the hopes of opportunistically purchasing these leases before the lease is reverted back to the Crown. Overall, we expect 2016 leasing activity to remain muted and expect similar leasing results as 2015, especially if the low commodity price environment persists throughout the full year.

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    Western Canada leasing 2015.xls

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    Western Canada leasing: 2015 spend down as low commodity prices weigh on activity

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Table of contents

  • 4.47 million acres acquired for total bonus spend of Cdn$373.57 million
  • Alberta continues to lead in annual acres leased
  • Saskatchewan acreage pricing fares better than most
  • British Columbia suffers largest leasing decline
  • Oil sands activity in 2015 driven by carbonate leases
  • Looking ahead: muted expectations for 2016

Tables and charts

This report includes 7 images and tables including:


  • Saskatchewan leads in 2015 Cdn$/acre
  • Alberta regains dominance of lease revenue
  • Alberta 2015 vs. 2014 logarithm of Cdn$/acre distribution
  • Map of 2015 lease results: bonus per acre with play area outlines
  • Oil sands leasing results over time
  • Month-to-month land sale activity


  • Appendix: 2015 top leases by Cdn$/acre

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