With provincial road bans typically announced on or about March 15, 55 drilling rigs in Saskatchewan were working down to the wire, as of Monday, March 12. That number is roughly on par with the same week in 2017.
While some years have seen a big push in the last couple weeks of the winter drilling season, with additional rigs being deployed, that was not the case this year. Consistency was the key word.
It rounds out a winter drilling season that has been the best in the last three years, with consistent numbers throughout most of January, February and into early March. Nearly all that time Saskatchewan had a touch over 70 active drilling rigs. That’s roughly 30 per cent lower than the 100 to 110 rigs that would be seen in January and February during the boom years, but a marked improvement over 2016 and 2017.
Seventeen drilling contractors were working in Saskatchewan for 27 different oil companies on March 12, according to sister publication Rig Locator (riglocator.ca).
An outlier was Nabors Drilling Rig 30, working for Agrium, Inc, looking for potash approximately 10 kilometres west-southwest of Preeceville. Nine years ago the area attracted some interest for potential shale gas development, with a well drilled within sight of Preeceville’s Main Street. The flare from the frac flowback drew a lot of attention, but nothing came of it. Nordic Oil & Gas had drilled a well near Sturgis several years later, again, to no avail.
Also drilling for potash was Ensign Drilling Rig 689 at Esterhazy, working for Mosaic.
Aldon Oils Ltd. had Lasso Drilling Corp. rig 1 at Weyburn. Astra Oil Corp. employed Stampede Drilling rig 2 at Pinto.
Caprice Resources Ltd. saw green with Crusader Drilling Corp. Rig 1 working at Antler River. That same area, south of Highway 18, between Carievale and Gainsborough, attracted a small cluster of four rigs working within an eight-kilometre circle, each working for a different company. Panther Drilling Corp. Rig 4 was working for Spartan Energy Corp. Stampede Drilling rig 1 was working for Southern Exploration Inc., and Tundra Oil & Gas Ltd. was just a bit to the east in the Winmore area.
Spartan also had Horizon Drilling Rig 29 at Oungre.
Epping Energy was active again in its Tyvan field, with Crusader Rig 2 working there.
Gambit Oil Corp. showed up on the radar with Betts Drilling Ltd. Rig 1 working at Viewfield. Also at Viewfield, Ridgeback Resources Inc. had Precision Drilling Rig 156 turning to the right.
Betts Rig 2 was drilling for Highrock Resources Ltd. at Benson.
At Alida, NAL Resources employed Panther Rig 2.
Right along the U.S. border, south of Torquay, Crescent Point Energy Corp. made its last big push of the season. Eight drilling rigs were working in close proximity, five of them in a long line along the two-mile road. Those eight rigs were Trinidad Drilling Rigs 421, 423 and 425, Horizon Drilling Rigs 33 and 34, Alliance Drilling and Oilfield Service Ltd. Rig 3, Ensign Drilling Rig 650 and Stampede Drilling Rig 5. A little further north Stampede Rig 4 was near Bromhead.
Near Crescent Point’s cluster, Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. had Trinidad Rig 427 going. Over at Cantal, they had Trinidad Rig 428 working.
Crescent Point also had several rigs working in the general Stoughton area, with Precision Drilling Rig 195 and Alliance Rig 5 at Viewfield. Ensign Drilling Rig 360 was at Freestone. Stampede Rig 3 was at Midale.
Crescent Point also had a rig working in the Moosomin field, northeast of Moosomin, a region that has not seen much activity in recent years. In this case, it was Ensign Rig 651.
At Tableland, Steppe Petroleum Inc. had Betts Rig 4 drilling.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. had Precision Drilling Rig 205 at Glen Ewen in the southeast and Rig 300 at Senlac in west central Saskatchewan.
In southwest Saskatchewan, Crescent Point had already wrapped up its program. The City of Medicine Hat had Precision Drilling rig 191 at Notukeu. Near Eastend, North American Helium Inc. continued its pursuit of that noble gas.
Eleven rigs were working in west central Saskatchewan. At Totnes, Lasso Rig 6 was working for Turnstone Energy Inc.
Teine Energy Ltd. had Ensign Rigs 350, 356 and 358 working at Dodsland, Astum and Kindersley, along with Bonanza Drilling Inc. Rig 1 at Dodsland.
Raging River Exploration Inc. had Savanna Drilling Rigs 414, 439 and 441 at Kindersley and Dodsland, while Tempco Drilling Co. Rig 6 was at Avon Hill.
Crescent Point had Savanna Rigs 420 and 436 at Dodsland.
In northwest Saskatchewan, Baytex Energy Ltd. had Precision Drilling rig 155 at Soda Lake. Rifle Shot Oil Corp had Tempco Rig 3 at Macklin.
The area close to Lloydminster has been largely bereft of drilling during this downturn, but Rife Resources was drilling at Dulwich, southwest of Marshall, with Ensign Rig 537.
Husky Energy stepped up its game, with four rigs working. They included Akita Drilling Ltd. Rig 6 at St. Walburg and Rig 29 at Dee Valley. Precision Drilling rig 197 was at Rush Lake and Rig 198 was at Celtic.