Canadian drilling activity sets record

Canada�s drilling industry is operating at close to capacity, with 96% of the 624 available units in operation. The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) said the total sets a new record for activity, compared to the previous high of 568 units last February.


Canada�s drilling industry is operating at close to capacity, with 96% of the 624 available units in operation.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) said the total sets a new record for activity, compared to the previous high of 568 units in operation last February in western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories). The count a year ago was 536 units, or a 91% utilization rate.

CAODC president Don Herring said about 54% of the wells being drilled are for natural gas, and if dry holes and service wells are removed, about 61% of completions are gas.

Record commodity prices for gas, high demand, and strong cash flows are a major driving force in the drilling surge. February natural gas prices on the NYMEX exchange closed Jan. 9 at $9.819/btu (US).

CAODC estimates the Canadian industry will drill a record 18,500 wells in 2001. A number of major companies have substantially increased their exploration and development budgets for this year in western Canada.

The drilling industry launched a campaign in November in a bid to attract 3,000 additional workers. CAODC said there are enough workers to support the current rig activity but the industry has a relatively high turnover and the association will continue to operate a training facility at Nisku, near Edmonton, at full capacity.

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