Interest in the Montney and Duvernay plays in B.C. and Alberta powered a near $800-million resurgence in oil and gas land sales in 2017.
Spending in B.C. and Alberta hit $793.93 million last year, the Daily Oil Bulletin reports, up fourfold with producers locking up 1.77 million hectares of land for exploration and development.
That's up from a paltry $217.51 million in spending in 2016, and $375.78 million in 2015, according to the Bulletin.
Spending was largely concentrated in Alberta, which ended the year with $556.39 million in bids, much of that spent on land in the East Shale Basin Duvernay, according to the Bulletin.
In B.C., spending was up to $173.25 million in 2017 after plunging to a record low of just $15.1 million in 2016.
Two sales were largely responsible for the large jump in the province, which started the year with a bang when its first land sale of 2017 produced $39.62 million in bonus bids. That sale was driven by a $35.13-million licence in Northeast B.C. prospective for the Montney east of Dawson Creek.
Meanwhile, a large $77-million parcel highlighted the province's July sale.
That high-priced drilling licence at Inga east of the Montney production at Altares, was picked up by Scott Land & Lease Ltd., which paid an average price of $13,893.90 per hectare for the 5,542-hectare parcel.
Meanwhile, spending in Saskatchewan totalled $62.83 million in 2017. That's up from $53.4 million in 2016. In Manitoba, spending hit $1.4 million last year, up from $262,000 in 2016.
Scott Land & Lease Ltd. was the top buyer in 2017, according to the Bulletin, acquiring 600,797 hectares for $357.39 million.