Two weeks left in drilling season, 60 rigs working in Saskatchewan

Estevan – With a little over two weeks left before the inevitable shutdown for spring breakup, 60 drilling rigs were making hole on Feb. 26, according to sister publication Rig Locator (

That’s a slight decline from 65 on Feb. 22. On the whole, the winter drilling season for 2020 has been a marked improvement over 2019, with between 60 and 68 rigs drilling consistently over that time. Last year, that number peaked at 54, and fluctuated between 46 and 54.

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Saskatchewan’s 60 rigs working out of 105 made for a 57 per cent utilization rate.

While 2020 was noticeably better than 2019, it was roughly five rigs fewer throughout January and February than the same time in 2018.

Alberta’s drilling numbers for the first two months of the year were a bit better for most of January and February, running between 165 and 175 rigs. That was consistently about 15 rigs more than last year, which by any measure was dismal. But in 2018, Alberta was running between 209 and 248 rigs during that period. And as of Feb. 26 of this year, the Alberta rig count fell to 148 rigs working out of 363. That made up for a 41 per cent utilization rate, and it matched Alberta’s 2019 number for that date.

British Columbia was running 19 rigs out of 43, for a utilization rate of 44 per cent. Its first two months saw a very slight climb over that period, which contrasted with a slight decline in 2019 and a dramatic decline from much higher number in 2018. That year, British Columbia hit 32 rigs in January, then dropped off consistently until March, when it got to around 13.

Manitoba had three of four rigs working this winter, for a 75 per cent utilization rate.

Nationwide, Alberta’s numbers have had a substantial impact. While better than 2019 by 30 to 40 rigs, on average, the national rig count was still about a quarter less than what it had been in 2018 during the same period.

As usual, Crescent Point Energy Corp. led the nation in active drilling rigs, with 14 working for them, all in Saskatchewan. Husky Energy Inc. was in a three-way tie for third, with 10 rigs, seven in Saskatchewan.

In southeast Saskatchewan rigs were generally widely and relatively evenly dispersed throughout, from the Manitoba border to Oungre, and from the U.S. border to Flinton, near Corning. Indeed, some areas that haven’t seen activity for quite a while had rigs working there. This included just south of Wawota, Parkman and Alida.

In total, 25 rigs were working in southeast Saskatchewan.  

Crescent Point was working at Oungre (2), Heward, Outram, Midale, Flinton, Kisbey and Lost Horse Hill. Vermillion Energy Inc. had rigs at Crystal Hill (Wawota), Corning, Oungre, Workman, Florence (near where the Souris River crosses the U.S. border).

Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. had rigs at Midale, Bromhead, Macoun, and Hastings (north of Oxbow).

Companies with individual rigs in the area included Whitecap Resources Inc. at Weyburn, Mosaic Potash at Esterhazy, Deep Earth Energy Production Corp. at the Port of Torquay, Astra Oil Corp. at Minard, Pemoco Ltd. at Parkman, Tundra Oil and Gas at Taylorton, and Burgess Creek Exploration Inc. at Alida.

In southwest Saskatchewan, six rigs were working. Crescent Point had rigs at Rapdan, Eastend, Leitchville and Cantaur. Whitecap had rigs at Bench (south of Gull Lake) and Seward (west of Swift Current).

In west central Saskatchewan, there were three rigs working within spitting distance of Kindersley, Whitecap had one, Teine Energy Ltd. had two others. Teine was also drilling at Avon Hill, Dodsland, Plato,

Baytex Energy Ltd. had a rig near Netherhill, Prairiedale and two at Elrose. NAL Resources Limited also had a rig at Elrose.

Pele Energy Inc. had a rig at Totnes. Turnstone Energy Inc. had a rig at Milton.

Crescent Point had rigs at Dodsland and Plato.

Moving up to northwest Saskatchewan, Cona Resources Ltd. had rigs at Cactus Lake and Winter.

Baytex had two rigs side-by-side at Soda Lake (south of Maidstone).

Serafina Energy Ltd. had one rig at Prince. IPC Canada Ltd. had a rig at Onion Lake. 

Gear Energy Ltd. had one rig at Celtic.

And finally, Husky’s rigs were at Tangleflags, Celtic, Paradise Hill, and three working within a rock’s throw of each other at St. Walburg. However, one of those rigs appears to be drilling for a deeper formation than the other two.


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