The potential for growth in Alberta's energy sector is limited, at least until prices move higher and the lack of pipeline capacity is addressed

alberta drilling

The latest active drilling rig numbers suggest Alberta’s energy industry could experience yet another frustrating year, says ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team.

Citing data released by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, ATB said the average number of rigs over the past 12 months is about seven per cent lower than the previous 12-month period.

The average number of active drilling rigs in February was 144, according to CAODC.

That number is down three per cent from the previous month and 34.2 per cent from the same month one year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of rigs that were sitting idle grew 18.2 per cent over the same period, added ATB.

“Analyzing rig counts is just one metric that helps guide projections surrounding the province’s energy sector. Other metrics include examining exploratory and developmental drilling numbers, watching the futures markets and following the latest production and storage numbers,” explained the financial institution.

“When these factors are taken into account, a clearer picture emerges.

“In the case of Alberta, the potential for growth in the province’s energy sector will continue to be curtailed, at least until prices move higher and the lack of pipeline capacity is addressed. But, with the completion of the Line 3 pipeline project delayed until 2020, Alberta’s energy industry is having a tough start to 2019.”

CAODC works with members to build a record of rig activity data. The association produces daily, weekly and monthly rig counts for members, and publishes weekly and monthly rig counts for the public.

CAODC members are required to enter daily drilling information and monthly drilling and service rig activity as a condition of membership.

– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business


alberta drilling

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