The stretch from mid-February to the first week of March is traditionally the peak of the year for oilwell drilling activity. And on Feb. 22, there were 31 drilling rigs working in Saskatchewan, down markedly from the previous two years.
According to Rig Locator (riglocator.ca), in 2020 there were 65 rigs working on the same date, and 52 rigs working on that date in 2019. During the boom years, from 2007-2014, there would be closer to 100 rigs working.
While the current number couldn’t be considered great by any means, it is significantly higher than the zero rigs that were drilling in the first part of the summer of 2020, when oil markets were initially recovering from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
National numbers show Cenovus Energy Inc. in first place, with 13 rigs working across the country, including one in northwest Saskatchewan, still listed as “Husky,” even though the companies have recently merged.
Crescent Point Energy Corp was tied for fourth with six rigs working, all in Saskatchewan. Whitecap Resources was tied for sixth place, with five rigs working, of which three were in Saskatchewan.
Southeast Saskatchewan saw quite a bit of activity around Lampman and Benson. Aldon Oils Ltd. was drilling northwest of Lampman in the Bryant area, in the vicinity of a well they drilled a few years ago that was, for a time, the best producer in the province. Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. had rigs working east and north of Lampman. Fire Sky Energy Inc. had one rig southwest of Benson, and Midale Petroleums also had a rig southwest of Benson. Astra Oil Corp. had one rig north of Benson.
To the north, Crescent Point Energy had three rigs going in its Viewfield play. One was southeast of Griffin, a second was north of Stoughton and a third was north of the Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation. Ridgeback Resources Inc. had a rig going near Corning.
Closer to Weyburn, Hummingbird Energy had a rig working adjacent to the Souris River, northeast of the Weyburn unit main battery.
Torc had another rig working near the Souris River, but just south of Alameda. The third rig working in the Souris Valley was contracted for Tundra Oil and Gas, east of Roche Percee.
Crescent Point had a rig working within spitting distance of the U.S. border, just west of the Port of Torquay. Deep Earth Energy Production Corp. had a rig working north of its main site, which is southeast of Torquay.
Half the rigs working in southwest Saskatchewan weren’t drilling for oil or methane, but rather that other natural gas – helium. At Battle Creek, north of Consul, North American Helium was drilling another well in its core area. Royal Helium Exploration Limited was drilling east of Climax.
Crescent Point had a rig working halfway between Shaunavon and Eastend. Whitecap was drilling north of Gull Lake.
The next area of activity is around Kindersley, with one rig so close, you might be able to hit it with a snowball from one of the hotels on the east side of town if you had a good south wind. That rig is working for Baytex Energy Ltd.
In the Dodsland area, Crescent Point, Whitecap and Teine Energy Ltd. each had a rig going. Teine had another rig going a little further south at Brock.
Baytex had one more rig working east of Coleville, and Whitecap had one more south of Kerrobert.
Further northwest, Karve Energy Inc. was drilling southwest of Cut Knife.
There were four drilling rigs working north of Highway 16. Serafina Energy Ltd. has extended its area to east of Prince, drilling on the east side of Highway 4, north of North Battleford. While it is still listed as Husky, Cenovus had a rig working east of Maidstone at Rush Lake, near the North Saskatchewan River.
Gear Energy Ltd. had a rig south of Paradise Hill at Celtic.
The last rig was working just a few hundred metres off the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, southwest of Turtleford. You don’t often see numbered companies listed in these reports, but102031850 Saskatchewan Ltd. had employed that rig.