File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is forecasting a modest rebound in 2017 for the oil sector, but well below the levels prior to the current commodity price slump. Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007. A flurry of stock sale financings by oil and gas producers in Canada has sparked optimism among investors that the stalled drilling industry will soon go back to work. But analysts warn that’s not likely to happen this year, THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Oilfield services group predicts modest drilling increase in 2017

Oil and gas drilling expected to make a modest rebound in 2017, remaining below pre-downturn levels.

CALGARY — The Petroleum Services Association of Canada says oil and gas drilling will stage a modest rebound in 2017, but remain well below levels reached before the current commodity price slump began.

PSAC forecasts 4,175 wells will be drilled in 2017, up about six per cent from an anticipated total of 3,950 wells this year.

The 2017 forecast is 63 per cent lower than the number of wells drilled in 2014, when benchmark U.S. oil prices began their fall from more than US$100 per barrel to current levels around US$50 per barrel.

PSAC president Mark Salkeld said the global supply of oil and gas is expected to continue to exceed demand in 2017, leaving little optimism for a significant rebound in price or activity.

On a provincial basis, PSAC expects most of the drilling increases to take place in Saskatchewan, with 240 more wells. Alberta is expected to see a year-over-year increase of about 50 wells and both B.C. and Manitoba are expected to experience declines. Canada’s largest driller, Calgary-based Precision Drilling, reported recently that it has begun rehiring staff in anticipation of a busier winter drilling season based on customer bookings.

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