Busiest drilling month of the year isn’t that busy this year

Estevan – Saskatchewan’s active drilling rig count usually hits a crescendo in the second half of February, and if that is the case, it wasn’t a very loud one this year.

On Feb. 27, sister publication Rig Locator (riglocator.ca) listed 49 active rigs in the Land of Living Skies. That’s down two from a few days earlier.

The consequence is that what has usually been the busiest month of the year for drilling activity in Saskatchewan has topped out at half, or less, the level of what it used to be during the boom years. Feb. 22, 2017 saw 72 rigs working at the same time of year, but curiously, there was a brief dip in 2018 which saw the rig count drop from 64, down to 49, then up to 76.

If these year’s numbers don’t seem that great, it’s a reflection upon the rest of the country, as drilling numbers in Alberta and British Columbia are also down markedly.

In Alberta, the rig count was 145. In 2017, for the same week, it was 226, and in 2018, that number was 235. British Columbia is also hard hit, with just 16 rigs working. In 2017, that number was 34, and in 2018, it was 25, for the same week.

Nation-wide, the graph for the first two months of the year shows overall drilling activity consistently down by roughly one-third. Alberta, which constitutes the bulk of those numbers, also implemented curtailment of its oil production to reduce a glut in heavy oil. That curtailment started at the beginning of this year.

Looking at the map, there is a small trend that has arisen in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Rigs are pushing the boundaries to the east in three areas – northwest Saskatchewan, west central Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba.

In northwest Saskatchewan, Serafina Energy Ltd. is now drilling three kilometres east of Highway 4, near the junction of Highways 4 and 26, at Prince. This area, north of North Battleford, has seen a small amount of activity in the past, but generally is new territory.

In west central Saskatchewan, Baytex Energy Corp. is drilling approximately 16 kilometres east-southeast of Elrose.

Over in Manitoba, Tundra Oil & Gas Ltd. has one rig working at Regent, which is about 18 kilometres northeast of Deloraine, near the north shore of Whitewater Lake. 

In Saskatchewan, there were 18 oil companies drilling, using 15 different contractors.

As usual, Crescent Point Energy Corp. led the nation, with 17 active drilling rigs. All were in Saskatchewan. Five were in the general Stoughton area, from northeast of Midale, to Flinton, northeast of Stoughton. The next six were along the two-mile road hugging the U.S. border south of Torquay. Four were working in the Shaunavon area, at Bone Creek, Leitchville, Dollar and Rapdan. The last two were at Dodsland in Viking play.

In southeast Saskatchewan, Canadian Natural Resources Limited had one rig at Steelman. Federated Co-operatives Limited had a rig at Gainsborough and another at Glen Ewen.

Vermillion Energy Inc. had rigs at Antler, Storthoaks, Northgate, Steelman and Alameda. Torc Oil & Gast Ltd. had rigs at Steelman, Beaubier and Weir Hill.

Pomoco Ltd. had one rig at Parkman. Midale Petroleums was drilling with one rig at Minard.

Gear Energy Ltd. had one rig at Torquay.

Enerplus Corporation had one rig at Neptune. 

In west central Saskatchewan, Sojourn Energy Inc. had one rig at Hearts Hill, west of Luseland. Teine Energy had rigs at Kiyiu Lake, Avon Hill and two at Dodsland, all of which are northeast of Kindersley.

Saturn Oil & Gas Inc. had one rig working at Court, north of Hoosier.

Cona Resources Ltd. was drilling with one rig, at Winter, northwest of Unity.

Husky Energy had five rigs working in northwest Saskatchewan, with rigs at Dee Valley, Birling (southeast of Maidstone), Celtic, Bolney and Edam.

In addition to Serafina’s work near Prince, it also had a rig working at Red Cross, north of St. Walberg.

Rifle Shot Oil Corp had one rig working at Evesham. Rife Resources Ltd was turning to the right with one rig at Dulwich, west of Marshall.


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