​Western Canada drilling activity gains an uptick

Total numbers remain down from last year, but the active rig count in Western Canada has gone up recently, Peters & Co. said on Tuesday.

Drilling activity has increased by approximately 20 percent over the last three weeks to 170 rigs, analysts wrote in an Energy Update, using Rig Locator data.

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“Although the active rig count continues to lag 2018 levels (184 rigs active during the same week last year), the gap has narrowed and overall activity is showing a more typical seasonal trend. Improved activity has been a function of incremental gas-related drilling, the ramping up of seasonal programs, and a return to activity for Canadian Natural Resources Limited,” analysts wrote.

“Thus far in Q4/19, an average of 149 rigs have been active in the WCSB (including move days), 30 percent below the same period last year. The decline in activity has been most pronounced in the Viking and Cardium, although this has been partially offset by growing activity in the Clearwater.”

Peters & Co. said that despite the year-over-year weakness, drilling activity so far in Q4/19 is tracking ahead of its forecasts.

“The industry [is] on pace for 11,000 to 11,500 operating days (spud to rig release) versus our previous estimate of approximately 10,000.” 

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