Drilling season drawing to a close for the year, and what a year it was

Saskatchewan’s drilling rig fleet traditionally shuts down over the Christmas holidays, and as of Dec. 18, it looks like that shut down has started.

There were eight rigs working in Saskatchewan on Dec. 18, according to Rig Locator (riglocator.ca) That’s down from 20 on Dec. 12, the highest number achieved since spring breakup and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Dec. 5, 2019, there were 46 rigs working in Saskatchewan.

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All drilling activity has ceased in west central Saskatchewan. Northwest Saskatchewan had two Husky Energy rigs working across the North Saskatchewan River from each other, one at Rush Lake and the other at Edam.

In southwest Saskatchewan, Crescent Point Energy Corp. had one rig working at Whitemud, southeast of Eastend. North American Helium kept plugging away northwest of Consul.

Southeast Saskatchewan had Crescent Point moving in a rig just south of Benson along Highway 47. A second rig was drilling just northeast of Kisbey.

Spectrum Resources Group Inc. was drilling north of Lampman.

As the year winds up, Saskatchewan’s first quarter, traditionally the busiest part of the year, closely mirrored 2018, except for being a few rigs lower. Feb. 8, 2020 saw 69 rigs working, a peak for the year. In 2019, drilling peaked at 54 rigs on Jan. 18. In 2018, 74 rigs were working on Feb. 8, that year’s peak.

But the summer of 2020 could only be described as brutal. Instead of talking of peaks it was the lowest of the low with regards to valleys. As the industry came out of the hangover of oil prices that dipped briefly into negative territory, drilling was totally flatlined until mid July. It was a long, slow climb to double digits

This past summer saw 10 Saskatchewan-based drilling rigs cut up for scrap. The rig fleet, which for most of the past decade sat around 120 units, is down to 99.