Saskatchewan rig count climbs to 45, similar to last year

Estevan – Drilling activity has picked up in Saskatchewan, with 45 rigs now working as of Dec. 4, according to Rig Locator (riglocator.ca).

That’s a substantial jump from the low 30s that the rig count hovered around for much of November.

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Saskatchewan’s drilling graph this year mirrors almost exactly what it was in 2018 for the last four months of the year, which, compared to Alberta and British Columbia, is comparatively not bad.

British Columbia continues to plumb the depths with its rig count, with just 11 rigs going. This year’s trend line has been on almost continual downwards slope for most of the year. In August it fell briefly to seven rigs, but otherwise has spent the last three months hovering around 10 to 11. In 2018, that number was 20 on Dec. 6, and 27 on the same date in 2019.

Alberta saw a jump of 20 rigs, bringing it to 110. That number had floated in the 90s since early August. However, it is still substantially lower than both 2017 and 2018. For those two years, the Alberta rig count was in lockstep around 150. By contrast, every single day of 2019 saw the Alberta rig count substantially lower than it has been in 2017 and 2018. Most of the year saw roughly one-third fewer rigs working this year at the same point compared to the previous two years.

As Alberta makes up the majority of the drilling fleet, its numbers had a profound impact on nationwide activity levels. As a result, the second half of 2019 saw substantially lower drilling activity compared to the previous two years. However, the additional 15 rigs in Saskatchewan and 20 rigs in Alberta mean that the first week of December 2019 will start to approach that of last year. That’s also because drilling started to plummet in December 2018 with the enactment of production curtailment in Alberta.

Within Saskatchewan, the most noticeable pickup of activity was in the northwest as well as west central. Five of those rigs reported were not working on oil. Rather, one was drilling for North American Helium in the extreme southwest corner of the province at Consul. In the opposite corner, Deep Earth Energy Production was finishing up its second geothermal hole south of Torquay. Nutrien had a rig at Asquith, west of Saskatoon. Gensource Potash Corporation was working east of Central Butte. As usual, Mosaic reported a rig at Esterhazy.

Seventeen rigs were drilling for oil in southeast Saskatchewan. Crescent Point Energy Corp. had rigs working at Bromhead, Manor, Star Valley, Flat Lake, Oungre (2), Viewfield, Forget and Moose Valley.

Tundra Oil & Gas Ltd. had a rig at Taylorton. Astra Oil. Corp. had a rig working at Pinto. Highrock Resources Ltd. was drilling at Minard. Midale Petroleums was working near Carnduff. Villanova Energy Inc. was drilling at Browning. Whitecap Resources was working in the Weyburn Unit east of Goodwater. Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. was drilling at Flat Lake.

Besides that helium rig at Consul, six other rigs were working in the southwest. Crescent Point had rigs as East End, Dollard (2), and Bone Creek. Potts Petroleum Inc., which hasn’t shown up in our previous reports, had a rig at Butte, south of Gull Lake. Whitecap had a rig at Beverley, north of Webb.

Moving to west central Saskatchewan, Baytex Energy Ltd. had one rig at Forgan, south of Elrose.

A cluster of rigs were working at Dodsland. NAL Resources Ltd. had two, Teine Energy Ltd. had four in close proximity. Baytex had one.

Baytex had another rig at Prairiedale. Saturn Oil & Gas kept going with their program at Hoosier, with one rig.

In northwest Saskatchewan, Canadian Natural Resources Limited was drilling at Senlac. Husky got into the field in a big way, with two rigs drilling side by side at Rush Lake, another across the river, south of Edam, another closer to Edam, a fifth at Brightsand Lake, a sixth at Alberfeldy, east of Lloydminster and a seventh at Hillmond, northeast of Lloydminster.

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