Re­newed op­ti­mism for en­ergy in­dus­try

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

While it ap­pears there is some good news com­ing from the Al­berta en­ergy in­dus­try, it still might take a while for this to catch up in Drumheller.

This week the Petroleum Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada (PSAC) re­leased its 2018 drilling fore­cast and it ex­pects 7,900 rig leases to be drilled in Canada for 2018. It also amended its 2017 pre­dic­tions, fore­cast­ing a to­tal 7,550 wells.

The small uptick in ac­tiv­ity we re­al­ized in Q1 of 2017 has car­ried on through the year. Bud­gets set with ini­tial op­ti­mism for a grad­ual climb in prices by year-end con­tinue with their plans as drilling and com­ple­tion ef­fi­cien­cies im­prove. “Due to pres­sure to stay low, costs for ser­vices con­tinue to be sup­pressed af­ford­ing bet­ter mar­gins for pro­duc­ers,” said PSAC pres­i­dent Mark Salked.

In Al­berta, this fore­cast predicts 3,998 wells to be drilled in Al­berta, the largest of any prov­ince.

While it is good news and tops the num­ber of wells drilled an­nu­ally over the last three years, it is still 30 per cent lower than the num­ber drilled in 2014.

Brad Peake has been in­volved in the oil and gas in­dus­try lo­cally for many years. He is en­cour­aged by the uptick, but un­til prices im­prove more, he doesn’t ex­pect much ex­plo­ration in the lo­cal area. In fact, he di­vested in some of his gas in­ter­ests as it was ac­tu­ally trad­ing at neg­a­tive prices.

“Any­thing south of Ed­mon­ton and west of the fourth meridian and east of the fifth meridian is pretty much done. Un­less you are down in Brooks and Til­ley, and maybe some stuff in Taber,” said Peake.

De­spite this, any uptick is ben­e­fi­cial, as many in the com­mu­nity are used to work­ing in the in­dus­try away from home. Al­ready he is see­ing work pick up in other com­mu­ni­ties, and labour is fol­low­ing. Last week it was re­ported that Al­berta added 12,000 full-time jobs.

“It is good news for the prov­ince over­all,” he said. “There are things heat­ing up in the prov­ince, just not here."

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