The Williston Basin Petroleum Conference has its roots dated back to 1993, when Dr. Malcolm Wilson – then employed at the Saskatchewan Geological Survey – envisioned a one-day workshop in Regina on what was then a new and exciting oil field technology: horizontal drilling. 
Horizontal drilling proved to be a key in opening up the Williston Basin to more expansive oil production throughout the 90s and into the next century.  The conference remained fairly small and focused throughout this period, with a priority placed on technical presentations in the geological and petroleum service sectors. Run primarily by geologists in the Saskatchewan Geological Survey, these “Horizontal Well Workshops” were popular events that paired operators and service providers, academics and explorationists together to maximize the potential of this burgeoning technology.
 In the mid-2000s, horizontal drilling combined with multi-stage fracking became the main topic of discussion.  As a result, the conference began to grow in size and attendance. Spurred on by the ubiquity of the Bakken play, the conference was rebranded as the “Williston Basin Petroleum Conference” as the event took on new focus and expanded scope.
What was previously a modest but quality technical conference rapidly expanded into one of the largest petroleum conferences and trade shows in North America, with hosting of the event shared equally in alternating years between North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
The founding partners of the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Saskatchewan include the provincial government through the Geological Survey of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Energy and Resources, and the independent not-for-profit Petroleum Technology Research Centre.  In North Dakota, the founding group includes the Department of Mineral Resources and the North Dakota Petroleum Council.  All of these groups helped develop the conference into the premier event it is today.
The Saskatchewan version of the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is now a standalone entity operating as a not-for-profit company managed by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre.  This year’s event has expanded the focus to include a Business Conference, in addition to the annual Technical Program and Exhibition.  The 2019 event includes an emphasis on heavy oil and CO2-EOR, in addition to tight oil research.  The business program has panels on funding, regulations and a special session for young people seeking careers in the oil patch.

Founding Partners

North Dakota Oil & Gas Division

The Oil and Gas Division regulates the drilling and production of oil and gas in North Dakota. Our mission is to encourage and promote the development, production, and utilization of oil and gas in the state in such a manner as will prevent waste, maximize economic recovery, and fully protect the correlative rights of all owners to the end that the landowners, the royalty owners, the producers, and the general public realize the greatest possible good from these vital natural resources.

Saskatchewan Geological Survey

The Ministry of Energy and Resources develops, co-ordinates, and implements policies and programs to promote the growth and responsible development of the province’s natural resources industries. The Ministry operates as the primary regulatory authority for the oil and gas industry and ensures competitive royalty systems, regulations and policies for all natural resource sectors.

Petroleum Technology Research Centre

The Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1998 to facilitate research and development and demonstration projects into enhanced oil recovery and carbon storage, with the goals of improving recovery rates while reducing the environmental footprint of the oil and gas industry. It is the PTRC's mission to realize 5 billion additional barrels of oil reserves from Saskatchewan's existing oil-in-place over five years of R&D and field trials of new and improved technologies.

North Dakota Petroleum Council

The North Dakota Petroleum Council’s (NDPC) purpose is to provide governmental relations support to the more than 490 companies it represents who are involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain region. The NDPC is also supported by members of the American Petroleum Institute (API) who have interests in North Dakota and South Dakota.