Drilling activity picks up markedly in mid-August

40 rigs at work now

Estevan – For the first time in over a year-and-a-half, the number of active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan exceeded what it was on that date the year before.

On Aug. 17, Rig Locator (riglocator.ca) showed 40 rigs working in Saskatchewan, surpassing the 37 recorded on Aug. 15, 2015. Last summer the rig count plummeted from 45 on Aug. 1, 2015, to 18 on Sept. 12. This summer’s trend line, while well below the previous year, and roughly a third of two years ago, has been on a slow but steady trend upward. For much of July, the rig count floated in the low to mid 20s.

With 40 of 120 rigs working, Saskatchewan’s utilization sot up to 33 per cent to lead the country. Manitoba’s three of 13 gave it 23 per cent utilization, while Alberta had 88 of 461 (19 per cent) and British Columbia had 15 of 75 (20 per cent). However, four of Saskathcewan’s 40 rigs were working in areas other than oil, with one in the extreme northwest drilling for Cameco, another in the extreme southwest drilling for helium, potash rigs at Esterhazy and Lanigan.

Crescent Point saw a big jump in its numbers, running 19 rigs on Aug. 17. That made it the most active driller in the country, by far, with Tourmaline Oil Corp. at a distant second at 11 nation-wide. Peyto Exploration and Development Corp. had seven, while Seven Generations Energy Ltd. had six nation-wide. With just five rigs going, Paramount Resources Ltd. still rated fifth overall.

All but two of Crescent Point’s rigs were in Saskatchewan. One was just across the border in Manitoba, near Sinclair, and the other was at Judy Creek, in the Swan Hills of Alberta. The company stepped up its activity around Stoughton, with four rigs. Another four were south of Oungre/Torquay. Single rigs worked near Carlyle and North Portal. Four rigs worked near Shaunavon, while an individual rig was drilling near Kindersley and two were side-by-side at Plato.

Activity in west central Saskatchewan picked up markedly, at 12. Even heavy oil country northwest Saskatchewan saw four rigs going, two for Husky Energy.

(Editor’s note: in recent months we have found a very small number of rigs have been working, but not registering on Rig Locator’s numbers. We have spoken to them about the discrepancy.)

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