Rig drilling numbers on the rise in Saskatchewan

Sunrise on the rig. Photo submitted

There might be light at the end of the tunnel for local oil workers.  2016 proved to be a tough year for many, with the oilfield still reeling from the drop in oil prices in 2014.  In 2016, there were 1,650 wells drilled in Saskatchewan.  This is slightly less than the 1838 wells drilled in 2015. “The very good news is we’ve seen an increase in drilling in 2017,” said Melinda Yurkowski, Saskatchewan’s assistant chief geologist with the Ministry of Environment. By March 31 of this year, there were 856 wells drilled in Saskatchewan, 723 of which were horizontal. That’s double the pace of 2016 for the same time period.

She noted that the Petroleum Services Association of Canada recently revised its forecast to 2,670 wells for this year.

Close to 90 per cent of wells drilled in Saskatchewan are horizontal now. The average length in 2016 was about 2,100 metres, which is a slight increase from the year before.

In 2016, there were a total of 52,786 active oil and gas wells, 31,022 inactive wells, and 425 abandoned wells. In 2015, there were 55,247 active wells, 27,614 wells and 958 abandoned wells.

According to Yurkowski, Oil production is still down from the peak in 2014. Production in 2016 was about 460,000 bpd, compared to 486,000 bpd in 2015. Light oil was about 38 per cent of production, medium oil was about 21 per cent, and heavy oil was about 41 per cent.


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