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IW Business Bulletin – January 21, 2022

Food Centre announces new president

On Jan. 20, 2022, the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (Food Centre) announced the appointment of Dr. Mehmet Tulbek as the Food Centre’s new president, effective Jan. 31, 2022. Tulbek takes over from Dan Prefontaine, who has served as the Food Centre president since 2000.

“I am extremely honoured and proud to lead the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre and work with the dedicated world-class team to support the momentum the organization exhibited over the last two decades. I look forward to working with our board of directors, members, partners, stakeholders and clients to help build the future of the Saskatchewan and Canadian agri-food ecosystem,” said Tulbek.

Tulbek has over 20 years of agricultural business and leadership experience, expertise in global research & development, business development, and international technical education in pulses, cereals, oilseeds, and plant-based foods. Prior to joining the Food Centre, Mehmet worked at AGT Food and Ingredients as their director of research and development.

FCL and AGT Foods to build Integrated Agriculture Complex

On Jan. 17, 2022, Federated Co-operative Limited (FCL) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. (AGT Foods). The joint venture will see the construction of a $360 million canola crushing plant in Regina, as part of FCL’s Integrated Agriculture Complex (IAC).

“We are so pleased to have AGT as a partner. Murad and his team are already playing an instrumental role in Saskatchewan agriculture and will bring a great deal of expertise to this venture,” said Scott Banda, CEO of FCL. “We are excited to realize the vision we share to bring value-added opportunities to the agriculture sector in both farm-to-tank and farm-to-fork opportunities that will benefit the communities we serve.”

The IAC will house the canola crushing facility as well as a renewable diesel plant announced in November 2021.

“I applaud the leadership Scott and the team at FCL have shown in working together to pursue this exciting opportunity,” said Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of AGT Foods. “Agriculture is at the forefront of many global challenges and is providing societal solutions to global protein requirements, food and renewable fuel supplies. This project demonstrates Saskatchewan’s leadership in plant-based Foods, Fuels and Feeds and brings together two Saskatchewan companies with the shared goals of decarbonizing our economy and adding value to Western Canadian crop production. We believe that AGT’s capabilities in grain logistics and plant protein ingredients combined with FCL’s strong history in energy and farm inputs creates a powerful partnership that will benefit the communities in which we operate.”

FCL estimates the $2 billion project will create 2,750 jobs during construction, and once completed the IAC will create up to 300 permanent jobs. This is the fourth canola crushing project announced for Saskatchewan.

Emmertech closes $60 million fund

Emmertech, Conexus Venture Capital’s agtech-focused venture capital fund, announced its final close on Jan. 18, reaching $60 million on Dec. 31, 2021. The fund was headlined by The Mosaic Company (Mosaic) and Viterra, along with Innovation Saskatchewan ($15 million) and agriculture stakeholders from across Canada.

“We first started as a grassroots fund, building from the industry upwards starting with farmers and local agribusiness owners,” said Sean O’Connor, managing director of Conexus Venture Capital Inc. & Emmertech. “Having brought on a Fortune 500 global agribusiness leader in Mosaic, along with the international network and brand of Viterra adds a completely new dimension of value add for our portfolio companies. Our ground-level LPs give our founders the ability to speak with innovative farmers and agribusiness owners to understand how they can find product-market fit, and now our international LPs like Mosaic and Viterra can help educate our founders on how they can scale globally.”

Emmertech has closed two investments with Lucent BioSciences in British Columbia and Ukko Agro in Ontario. Two other investments are expected to be announced in the coming months. Emmertech is the second fund launched by Conexus Venture Capital.

Global Helium starts seismic program

Calgary-based Global Helium Corp. announced Jan. 18 that it has started “shooting of 50 km (31 miles) of seismic over several of its existing permits in southern Saskatchewan.” Seismic data acquisition and analysis is used to determine subsurface structural traps and define drilling targets. Global will use the data from the program to find locations for drilling in 2022.

“We are excited to be undertaking a large assessment of our three core areas. This initial seismic will help to expand our drill locations to confirm prospects in Core Area 1, near Swift Current. Later this winter the seismic program will continue and will include Core Area 2, south of Regina, and Core Area 3, near the US border. This entire program is expected to produce several drill-ready prospects and advance a number of other prospects closer to drill-ready stages,” said Wes Siemens, Global Helium’s president.

ISC board member steps down

Information Services Corp. (ISC) board member Karyn Brooks has stepped down from the board, effective immediately.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Karyn for her unwavering commitment to ISC since joining the Board in 2016. Her professionalism and wise counsel will be missed around the Board table,” says Joel Teal, ISC’s board chair.

ISC will not seek an immediate replacement for Brooks.

CAPP sees rise in natural gas and oil sector investment for 2022

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is predicting a 22 per cent increase in natural gas and oil investment in 2022. CAPP expects the sector’s capital spending to grow by $6.0 billion to reach $32.8 billion, compared to an estimated total investment of $26.9 billion in 2021.

In Saskatchewan, CAPP sees investments of $2.7 billion in the province for 2022, a 16 per cent increase over 2021. Saskatchewan’s 2021 upstream investment was expected to reach $2.8 billion but updated estimates show producers spent $2.3 billion. CAPP says “increasing municipal costs in some rural jurisdictions have significantly raised concerns which are likely contributing to a slowing of investment in the province.”

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