​Saskatchewan’s winter drilling season kicks off with a bang

60 rigs hit the frozen ground running in the best opening week in at least three years

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

Estevan, Sask. – Bang! Sixty rigs kicked off right at the start of the year.

With oil over US$60 WTI in the first week of the New Year, drilling in Saskatchewan took off. It takes a few days to get most rigs moving, but right off the hop, they’ve been firing up. By Jan. 4, sister publication Rig Locator listed 60 rigs working in the Land of Living Skies. That’s the highest level since the first week of March 2017.

The highest number of active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan over the past three years was March 1, 2017, with 76 rigs for a brief period. The first 75 days of the year are traditionally Saskatchewan’s busiest when it comes to drilling, even moreso ever since the flood year of 2011, when wetter surface conditions hampered summer drilling for several years afterwards.

With 60 rigs working in the first week, that’s higher than any opening week since the downturn hit in late 2014.

The biggest impact, by far, has been Crescent Point Energy Corp.’s return to the top of the leader board for all oil companies in Canada with reference to the number of active drilling rigs.

With 26 rigs on Jan. 4, it doubled the No. 2 operator, Encana Corp, which had 13. Indeed, Crescent Point had more than the No. 2 and No. 3 operators combined, as Cenovus Energy, in third spot fielded 12 rigs.

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