The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors has released an update on 2008 activity, as well as a forecast for 2009.
The association says it saw a sizeable increase in operating days in the first three quarters of 2008 – 10 per cent more than during the same period last year.
For the entire year, the group expects 37 more active drilling rigs in Western Canada this year compared to last, (an increase of 11 per cent).
CAODC also reports the average number of days needed to drill a well has now risen from 7.4 to 9 days – meaning the total well count is expected to decline 20 per cent over last year. The rise is attributed to a significant focus on unconventional gas plays in BC and Saskatchewan, and generally deeper natural gas wells.
The association also reports utilization of rig fleet is expected to decline from 42 per cent in 2008, to 39 per cent in 2009. But, it says the reduced activity levels are only expected in Alberta, where it claims uncertainty over the new Royalty Regime is driving away investment.