The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says, measured in operating days, Western Canadian drilling activity in the first three quarters of this year has been much better than during the same period last year.
It provides the comparable numbers, as 83,359 this year, and 51,993 last year.
However, although that’s a 60 percent improvement, it should also be noted its still 14 percent below the first three quarters of 2008 and down 32 percent from 2006.
The Association also says rig utilization for the first nine months of this year, averaged 38 percent compared with 23 and 40 percent in 2009 and 2008 respectively.
It still expects 400 rigs to run on average during the fourth quarter which represents a utilization rate of 50 percent.
That would result in an overall 2010 utilization rate of 41 percent and the Association prediction for next year is slightly better than that, at 45 percent.
However, the bad news for this region is that the modest improvement, is largely focussed on oil opportunities and the Association predicts the price for crude oil will be about 80 dollars U.S. a barrel.
As for natural gas, its predicting 2011 will be another weak year with the price around 4 dollars per million British thermal units.
That’s only about half of what’s generally considered necessary to instill confidence in producers to up their drilling programs.