A sign of the times: CAODC drilling association ponders change to 72-year-old name

Mark Scholz, chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors

In a sign of changing times in the oilpatch, the head of the group representing contract drilling companies in Canada says it is exploring a change to the name adopted when it was founded in 1949.

CEO Mark Scholz says members were surveyed earlier this year for input as part of a process to replace the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors name to better reflect its changing mandate and widening membership.

In January, the Calgary-based group announced a new directional drilling division with seven companies, its first new division since offshore drilling members were introduced in 1980, and said it is working to add more divisions.

At the association's virtual annual meeting on Friday, Scholz said things are looking up for the oilfield services industry after what he described as its worst year ever in 2020, thanks to higher oil and gas prices and new pipeline capacity coming on stream this year and next.

He added the industry expects to benefit from new ventures exploring helium and hydrogen production and tapping into geothermal energy, while a federal government $1.7-billion well reclamation fund is helping provide stability for service rig operators.

In its November forecast, CAODC said it expected a 14 per cent increase in the number of oil and gas wells drilled in Canada in 2021 compared with the historic lows of 2020, but added it expected the drilling fleet to shrink by 27 rigs to 478.

“The association is exploring a name change after over 70 years as the CAODC. We're doing that to better position the organization and its members as the industry navigates through rapid transformation,'' said Scholz at the meeting.

“Our association intends to broaden its mandate and create a more inclusive organization focused on fighting for what matters most, a strong resilient, respected and influential Canadian services sector.''

Earlier this week, PetroLMI, a division of Energy Safety Canada, predicted that Canada's oil and gas workforce would shrink by almost 7,300 jobs this year before staging a modest rebound over the following two years.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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