Estevan – Drilling rig activity in Saskatchewan usually doesn’t pick up until June, and that’s definitely the case again this year, despite a relatively dry spring in the southeast.
Sister publication Rig Locator (riglocator.ca) listed just ten rigs working on May 15, an uptick of just one from the day before. That’s in keeping with recent years, when there were 12 rigs on May 17, 2017, and nine rigs on May 17, 2018.
However, while Saskatchewan tends to be pretty slow at this time of year, North Dakota’s rig count on May 15, 2019 was 65, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. Last year on the same date it was 59, and in 2017 it was 51. The North Dakota concentration is just a two to three-hour drive south of the two rigs drilling for oil in southeast Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan’s count of 10 out of 105 rigs makes for a 9.5 per cent utilization rate. However, that number is predicated on the recent reduction of rigs in Saskatchewan’s fleet. Up until a few months ago, Saskatchewan had been showing around 120 rigs for several years. This is in keeping with the dramatic reduction of rigs listed by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC). In 2014, there were 800 rigs listed in Canada, now there are only 550, a reduction of 31.25 per cent. Rig Locator reported 79 active rigs in Canada – 53 in Alberta, 10 in Saskatchewan, 16 in British Columbia and one in Ontario. Based on the 550 number, that equates to a utilization rate nation-wide of 14 per cent.
Baker Hughes’ rig count, as of May 10, showed 988 active rigs in the U.S., including 19 offshore rigs.
In southern Saskatchewan, the smaller operators are first out of the gate. Astra Oil Corp. had one rig going at Steelman, while Fire Sky Energy Inc. fired up at Gainsborough. As usual, Mosaic Potash had one rig reported at Esterhazy.
In the southwest, Jarrod Oils Ltd. started drilling at Consul. (Jarrod Oils president Eldon McIntyre is being honoured at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show as an inductee into the Saskatchewan Oil Patch Hall of Fame.)
Over in west central Saskatchewan, Teine Energy Ltd. had two rigs going, one at Dodsland, and a second at Coleville. To the west of them, Novus Energy Inc. had one rig working at Flaxcombe.
In northwest Saskatchewan, a new name appears to have popped up in the form of Dark Warrior Resources Ltd, drilling at Winter, northwest of Unity.
Serafina Energy Ltd. had two rigs going north of North Battleford, east and west of Prince.