All three prairie provinces are expected to post decreases, but PSAC predicts the number of wells in B.C. will increase by 2.2 per cent. The actual number is expected to be 550, topping the total in Manitoba, which is projected to drop by 7.7 per cent to 480. 

Those numbers pale compared to the anticipated Alberta and Saskatchewan totals of 6,555, and 3,196, respectively. However, while the Alberta total is only down less than one per cent from this year, the Saskatchewan projection represents a decrease of 3.5 per cent. 

PSAC is basing its forecast on an average natural gas price of $3.50 cents U.S. and a crude oil price of $95 a barrel U.S. However, it again sites growing use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing as having a significant impact on drilling activity and creating a trend to fewer wells overall. 

The Association has also released a fracturing code with the new drilling forecast based on stakeholder feedback and industry expertise collected over a six month period. It can be viewed online and covers five key areas: water and the environment; fracturing fluid disclosure; technology development; health, safety and training; and community engagement. 

The community engagement sessions were held in over a half dozen oil patch communities across all four western provinces and included Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie in the Peace Region.