The third week of January saw Saskatchewan’s drilling rig levels in their best shape since the downturn hit.
The month of January, to date, has been better than any January since and including January 2015, according to numbers posted by sister publication Rig Locator (riglocator.ca). At 71 active rigs on Jan. 24, that’s just below the brief peak of 76 rigs in early March, 2017, and, with that exception, better than any point in the last three years. Indeed, the rig count hit 72 on Jan. 23.
At 71, that put the province’s rig utilization at 62 per cent of the 114 rigs in the province. That’s a better utilization rate than Manitoba (58 per cent, 7 of 12 rigs), Alberta (56 per cent, 245 of 439 rigs), and British Columbia (54 per cent, 30 of 56 rigs). Nation-wide, 353 of 623 rigs were at work, or 57 per cent. That includes one rig working each in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
While the utilization rate is now over half, that also takes into consideration the size of the total rig fleet has shrunken by nearly a quarter in three years. Whereas there used to be around 800 drilling rigs in the Canadian fleet, that number has steadily dropped to 623 currently, as companies have retired and cut up idle rigs.
Crescent Point Energy Corp. had 27 rigs working on Jan. 24, compared to 15 each for Canadian Natural Resources Limited and Encana Corporation, tied for second spot. All but one of Crescent Points rigs were working in Saskatchewan (the outlier drilling west of Swan Hills, Alta.). Six were drilling in the Shaunavon area, one rig near Kindersley and one near Plato.
In southeast Saskatchewan, Crescent Point’s efforts really stood out. They continued to punch holes near the U.S. border, southwest of Torquay, with nine rigs. Those rigs were working in an area roughly the size of a township. Another rig was working east of Oungre. Crescent Point had another five rigs broadly scattered in the Viewfield Bakken area, from Handsworth to Heward to Bryant. A singular rig was working in the Pinto field, just north of North Portal.
In southeast Saskatchewan, there’s been a broad distribution of drilling rigs from Benson to Alida, between Highways 13 to the north and 18 to the south. Working in this area include Midale Petroleums at Bryant, west of Benson, Astra Oil Corp., east of Benson, Torc Oil & Gas Corp., east of Lampman, and Spectrum Resource Group, Inc., south of Arcola.
Vermillion Energy Inc. had one rig at Steelman. Spartan Energy Corp. continued its program northwest of Alameda with one rig and added another north of Alida. NAL Resources Limited had one rig just west of Alida at Cantal. Triland Energy was drilling with one rig at Ingoldsby, northeast of Carnduff.
Off by its lonesome at Parkman, south of Wawota, was one rig working for Pemoco Ltd. Further north, there’s also activity again at the potash mines at Esterhazy, where Mosaic Potash has one rig going.
Spartan has two more rigs working east of Oungre.
Steppe Petroleum Inc. had one rig southeast of Torquay.
Southwest of Oungre at Hoffer, Torc had another rig working. Enerplus Corporation had one rig at Neptune.
In southwest Saskatchewan, Surge Energy Inc. had the only rig working in the Shaunavon area that wasn’t working for Crescent Point. Whitecap Resources Inc. had one rig north and one rig south of Gull Lake.
Moving to west central Saskatchewan, the area southwest of Kerrobert has heated up, with six rigs working in relatively close quarters. Two were for Whitecap, two for Raging River Exploration Inc, one was for Ish Energy Ltd. and another for Baytex Energy Ltd. To their west, near the Alberta border, Cona Resources had one rig at Court. Raging River had one rig so close to the Alberta border at Hoosier, if the derrickman dropped a water bottle, it could land in Wild Rose Country if the wind was right.
Kaisen Energy Corp. had one rig at Eureka, midway between Kerrobert and Kindersley. Whitecap had another rig at Bonanza Lake, west of Dodsland.
South of Dodsland were for rigs, three for Teine Energy Ltd. and one for NAL. Teine had another rig at Plato, and Raging River had one at Elrose.
Caltex Resources Ltd. continued to drill at Druid with one rig.
In northwest Saskatchewan, Rifle Shot Corp. had one rig north of Macklin. Northern Blizzard had one at Winter. Southwest of Maidstone, Baytex had one more rig going.
North of Highway 16, Husky Energy had rigs at Rush Lake, Lashburn and Celtic. West Lake Energy Corp. had one rig at Celtic.