Drilling activity nearly doubles over this time last year

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CALGARY, A.B. – Though drilling activity in the oil and gas industry has experienced a big upswing in recent months, and now sees twice as much activity as January 2016, those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

John Bayko with the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says that this week, 50 percent of drilling rigs are in action across the three Western Canadian provinces. In B.C., 32 rigs out of 71 were drilling this week, up from last year when only 34 percent of rigs were drilling. Bayko says that this week’s numbers across Western Canada are similar to those seen during the same timeframe two years ago, when activity was at approximately 50 percent. However, during the third week of January 2015, out of 73 rigs in B.C., 54 were drilling.


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Despite this surge, Bayko says that the industry is still far away from where it was during the peak of the last boom in the industry. Comparing 2016, which was the worst year on record for the CAODC, and an average activity year for the oilpatch, Bayko explained that during the third week of January in 2014, 73 percent of drilling rigs were in operation across Western Canada. In our province, that number stood at 87 percent.

Bayko also stated that there are several factors in addition to the rebound in the price of crude oil that are at play in the recent activity surge. “The fact that the weather has been cold, that means the rigs can move around on the roads. Typically colder weather will see more activity,” said Bayko. He also explained that drilling activity has also been higher historically during the first fiscal quarter of the year.


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