(Adds details on oil and potash price estimates, further forecasts)
Feb 29 The resource-rich Canadian province of Saskatchewan said on Monday that its projected budget deficit would be larger than previously estimated, boosted by a drop in oil prices that trimmed government revenues.
The province's 2015/16 shortfall, its first in two decades, will reach about C$427 million ($315.8 million), up sharply from C$262.2 million forecast in November. The fiscal year runs from April through March.
Until this year, the province remained in the black even as most others ran deficits when their economies slowed. Premier Brad Wall's right-leaning Saskatchewan Party government faces an election in April.
Revenue from non-renewable resources -- which include production of oil and the crop fertilizer potash -- looks to fall C$617 million this year, according to the government.
The province will aim to maintain overall spending increases at 2.3 percent annually, Doherty said.
Saskatchewan expects to spend about C$14.3 billion for the year ending March 31, and collect roughly C$13.9 billion in revenue, a drop of C$158.4 million from the previous estimate.
The government estimates the price of West Texas Intermediate oil to average $44.78 per barrel in 2015/16, down from the $49.50 assumption it made in November, and the budgeted $57.15 per barrel.
The province sees potash prices averaging $267 per tonne in 2015/16, down from the $282 per tonne it forecast in November.
Saskatchewan's public debt is forecast to rise to C$13.5 billion by March 31 from C$11.7 billion a year earlier.
Its operational debt, which excludes debt held by government-owned corporations, health authorities and school divisions, is expected to move up to C$4.1 billion from C$3.8 billion. ($1 = 1.3523 dollars) (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Chris Reese and Alan Crosby)