In 1874 natural gas was discovered in Saskatchewan. But like many natural gas discoveries in those days, it was treated as a failure to find oil. The first commercial oil well in Canada was in production in 1906, but the presence of natural gas in a well was treated as a nuisance until the 1930's.
Due to their lucky coincidence of nearby natural gas discoveries, three towns in Saskatchewan had their own natural gas system before the provincial utility franchise was created. They were Lloydminster in 1934, Kamsack in 1937, and Unity in 1944.
In 1951, SaskPower was designated as the provincial authority in the distribution of natural gas. This created a captive new market and resulted in a flurry of drilling activity in Saskatchewan.
Regina first received natural gas service in 1957. The billboard beside the flame reads "Be ready for natural gas arriving Sept. 1st."
A quiet revolution was happening in Saskatchewan as each town along the route of these high-pressure lines continued to be activated. By 1962, 140 communities had natural gas service.
Over the next twenty years, both the high pressure and low pressure facilities were expanded to provide service to nearly every community in Saskatchewan of any significant size. From 1962 to 1982, the gas distribution system doubled in size to meet the needs of 227,500 services.
This is a customer sign-up trailer from those years. As noted on the trailer, uses included HOME HEATING, WATER HEATING, CLOTHES DRYING, COOKING, AND INCINERATION.
Although natural gas garbage incinerators were used by homeowners at one time, most cities and towns no longer permit you to incinerate, or burn, your garbage at home.
In 1988, SaskEnergy was created as a separate crown corporation from SaskPower to operate the natural gas systems that had been built by SaskPower up to that point. Today the total SaskEnergy distribution system is over 63,000 kilometers in length. It supplies 313,000 customers. What's 63,000 kilometers? It doesn't seem like a lot on the odometer of your car, but stretched end to end, SaskEnergy has enough distribution pipeline to circle the Earth at the equator 1 ½ times.