Saskatchewan’s rig activity is comparatively better than Alberta’s or B.C.’s

Estevan – Saskatchewan’s active drilling rig count, compared to Alberta and British Columbia, is doing much better when you look at the numbers for 2018-2020.

According to Rig Locator (, Saskatchewan’s active rig count has been about five to ten fewer rigs, compared to 2018, since the start of the year. From mid-January to February 10, Saskatchewan has been running around 65-69 rigs. On Feb. 11 it was 66 rigs working out of 105 rigs in the province, for a utilization rate of 63 per cent.

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But it’s a marked improvement compared to the same period last year, when the rig count fluctuated from 46 to 54 rigs.

In Alberta, they’ve seen a slight improvement compared to 2019, but are nowhere near the 2018 numbers. This year Alberta’s has 167 to 174 rigs making hole. The same period last year saw 138 to 155 rigs working. However, in 2018 the Alberta numbers were from 222 to 248.

British Columbia’s 2020 numbers almost exactly mirror their depressed 2019 numbers, running 19 to 20 rigs this year, as opposed to 18 to 19 last year. Both 2019 and 2020 are down substantially from 2018, when there were between 27 and 32 rigs working in British Columbia.

Manitoba has been consistently running around 5 rigs this year for the same period.

When you add it all up, there were 259 rigs working and 256 rigs idle in Western Canada on Feb. 11, making the utilization rate just a sliver over 50 per cent of the 515 rigs in the west.

The top two companies drilling nationwide are Crescent Point Energy Corp., with 13, and Husky Energy Inc, with 12.

Crescent Point’s 13 rigs were at Oungre, Bender, Clarilaw, Browning, Beaubier and Fraude in southeast Saskatchewan. In southwest Saskatchewan they had rigs at Eastbrook (2), Leitchville and Beverley (west of Swift Current). Plato and Dodsland in west central Saskatchewan each had a rig.

Nine of Husky’s 12 rigs were working in Saskatchewan, all in the northwest. They had rigs at Red Cross, which is north of St. Walburg (2), Beacon Hill near the Alberta border, just south of Highway 55, St. Walburg, Celtic (2), Edam, Tangleflags and Brightsand Lake.

In southeast Saskatchewan there were 26 rigs working; with 23 in southwest and west central Saskatchewan combined, and another 17 in northwest Saskatchewan. The distribution was relatively spread out, but with some concentrations in the Flat Lake area around Torquay/Oungre, and near Lampman.

Vermillion Energy Inc. had rigs at Oungre, Alameda, Carlyle, North Portal, Glen Ewan and Antler.

Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. had rigs working at Hoffer, Weir Hill and Steelman.

Whitecap Resources Inc. had one rig at the Weyburn Unit. Federated Co-operatives Limited was drilling with one rig at Benson. Tundra Oil & Gas had a rig at Taylorton. Ridgeback Resources was drilling at Handsworth. Spectrum Resource Group Ing. was at Browning. Aldon Oils Ltd. had a rig at Auburnton, just east of Manor. Astra Oil Corp. had one rig turning to the right at Steelman.

Geothermal electricity pioneer Deep Earth Energy Production has notably put its second rig in the field. It’s working so close the U.S. border, if the derrickhand threw a snowball in a strong wind, it might hit an American border guard across the 49th parallel and. That rig, is working just west of the Port of Torquay. This site is about seven kilometres west and 2.7 kilometres south of their first location, whereas their first rig is working on their next hole for DEEP. It’s first site is south of Torquay, near the U.S. border.

Mosaic is showing its usual Ensign Rig 689 drilling for potash at Esterhazy. Otherwise, there are no other potash or helium rigs listed this week.

In southwest Saskatchewan, in addition to the previously listed four Crescent Point rigs, Whitecap had rigs at Butte, south of Gull Lake, and Cantaur, west of Swift Current.

In west central Saskatchewan, there were four rigs working relatively close to Elrose, with NAL Resources Ltd. and Baytex Energy Ltd. southeast of the community with a rig each. Teine Energy Ltd. had a rig at Plato, with one of the previously mentioned Crescent Point rigs also near Plato.

The Viking formation fairway saw plenty of activity, as usual, with a east-to-west band of 10 rigs working north of Highway 7, starting at Dodsland. One there was a previously mentioned Crescent Point rig, then a Baytex rig. A little further west at Kiyiu Lake, Teine had two rigs, and another at Avon Hill. Teine had one more rig just outside the northeast city limits of Kindersley, with Baytex nearby with one of their own. Ish Energy Ltd. was drilling close to the Kindersley airport. A little further west, Whitecap had two more rigs.

Baytex also had a rig at Smiley. Broadview Energy Ltd. was drilling at Druid.

Cona Resources had one rig at Court, near the Alberta border on Highway 51. Cona had another rig at Winter, northwest of Unity.

Rifle Shot Oil Corp. had one rig working just north of Macklin. Canadian Natural Resources had one rig at Senlac.

In northwest Saskatchewan, Baytex had two rigs south of Maidstone at Soda Lake.

North of Highway 16, the only rig that wasn’t working for Husky was Serafina’s one rig, at Prince.

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