Annual Christmas slowdown hitting drilling rig numbers

There are two times of year where the Saskatchewan drilling rig fleet all but shuts down and goes home – spring breakup and Christmas. While some areas keep a few rigs going during breakup, pretty much everyone shuts down at Christmas.

The annual drawdown of rigs was apparent in Saskatchewan on Dec. 16, according to the numbers reported by sister publication Rig Locator (riglocator.ca). Saskatchewan showed 25 rigs making hole, out of a total of 104 on slate. That made for a 24 per cent utilization rate. It’s also a drop of 15 compared to Dec. 13.

Alberta’s count actually climbed three to 117 out of 378, for a utilization rate of 31 per cent. This is an uncharacteristic trend, as the middle of December usually marks a noticeable drop.

British Columbia reported 11 rigs working out of 42 for a 26 per cent utilization rate. This wasn’t a change, however, as that province has seen low numbers in that range for much of the fall.

Manitoba had two rigs working out of six rigs working.

Of those 25 rigs in Saskatchewan, three were working on potash and one was drilling for helium. The helium rig was employed by North American Helium Inc. at Cypress, northeast of Consul. Nutrien had rigs working at Asquith and northeast of Whitewood. Mosaic had its usual rig reported at Esterhazy.

Southeast Saskatchewan had eight rigs working. Crescent Point Energy Corp. had four rigs, at Star Valley, Viewfield (2) and Bromhead. Ridgeback Resources Inc. had a rig at Midale. Astra Oil Corp. was drilling at Pinto. Hummingbird Energy Inc. had a rig working south of Halbrite, while Whitescap Resources Inc. was drilling in the Weyburn Unit.

In southwest Saskatchewan, Crescent Point had the only rig working on oil. It was at Rapdan.

Over in west central Saskatchewan, NAL Resources Limited was drilling at Dodsland. Baytex Energy Ltd was drilling at Forgan. Teine Energy Ltd. was drilling with two rigs northeast of Kindersley. A little further north, at Senlac, Canadian Natural Resources had one rig going.

In the northwest, Husky was really humming with seven rigs going north of the Yellowhead Highway. Those rigs were working at Belliveau Lake (northwest of Turtleford), Hillmond (northeast of Lloydminster), Aberfeldy, Edam (2), Rush Lake and Vawn.

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