Saskatchewan’s rig activity is healthy compared to Alberta

Saskatchewan’s active drilling rig count, compared to Alberta and British Columbia, is doing much better when you compared the numbers from 2018 and 2020.

According to Rig Locator, Saskatchewan’s active rig count has been about five to 10 fewer rigs, compared to 2018, since the start of the year. From mid-January to Feb. 10, Saskatchewan has been running around 65-69 rigs. On Feb. 11 it was 66 rigs working out of 105 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 has 167 to 174 rigs making hole. The same period last year saw 138 to 155 rigs working. However, in 2018 the Alberta numbers ranged from 222 to 248.

British Columbia’s 2020 numbers almost exactly mirror their depressed 2019 numbers, running 19 or 20 rigs this year, as opposed to 18 or 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 five 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.

Nine of Husky’s 12 rigs were working in Saskatchewan, all in the northwest.

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 and Oungre, and near Lampman.

Vermillion Energy Inc. had rigs at Oungre, Alameda, Carlyle, North Portal, Glen Ewen 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 Inc. 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, as 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. Its first site is south of Torquay, near the U.S. border.


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