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PSAC forecasts 4,175 wells drilled in 2017

Minor rebound from 2016 levels anticipated
A drilling rig in the Horn River Basin in northeast B.C.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) is predicting 40 fewer wells to be drilled in B.C. in 2017, while drilling increases in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The association released its 2017 outlook on Wednesday, predicting a total of 4,175 wells to be drilled across Canada next year, up from the 3,950 wells it expects to be drilled by the end of this year.

PSAC predicts the growth will be lead by Saskatchewan, forecasting a total of 1,940 wells drilled next year, up 240 wells. In Alberta, it predicts a modest increase of 53 wells drilled for a total of 1,900 wells drilled in that province next year.

Drilling in B.C. is predicted to drop from 320 wells in 2016 to 280 wells in 2017. Meanwhile, drilling in Manitoba is expected to tumble by 68 per cent from 74 wells this year to just 50 wells in 2017.

“We are seeing a small uptick in activity for 2016/2017 as we head in to our traditional winter drilling and completion season," PSAC President Mark Salkeld said.

"Beyond that, it is hard to find support for any significant ramp up of activity over what we are forecasting, as geopolitics and increased supply continue to keep commodity prices low, and lack of access to global markets keeps a chokehold on the Canadian industry.”

Though 2017 activity levels are expected to outperform 2016, PSAC notes its predicted total of 4,175 wells is 63 per cent lower than the number of wells drilled in 2014. 

“The Canadian oilfield service, supply and manufacturing sector is a leader in providing innovation and technological support for Canada’s responsibly-developed oil and gas resources and like our customers, the producers, we are limited in our growth here in Canada as long as we only have one customer, the U.S., a customer that has quickly become our biggest competitor,” Salkeld said.

“The world needs more Canadian oil and gas and it also needs more of the leading edge technology and expertise that comes from the Canadian oilfield services, supply and manufacturing sector, now more than ever while we have surplus capacity.”

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