Capital investment in the energy sector has been a rare occurrence during the past year. So the recent move by Packers Plus Energy Services Inc.’s Red Deer operations into new premises probably raised a few eyebrows.
Doug Bobrosky, director of the company’s Canadian division, acknowledged that the decision to relocate from two separate bays in Edgar Industrial Park to a much bigger building in Clearview Industrial Park was made prior to the sharp downturn in the oil and gas sector. But Packers Plus Energy’s resolve to forge ahead anyway reflects its optimism about the potential for the multi-stage fracture stimulation system that it specializes in.
“We certainly had the ability to take a step back if we needed to, but we decided at that point that this technology is going to be required for mostly all the wells that are going to be drilled.”
Horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracing have proven an effective way to tap into the vast shale gas reserves in the United States and Canada. Those deposits were not previously economical using traditional vertical wells.
There’s plenty of shale gas in Western Canada, said Bobrosky, and the same technology can be used to extract gas — and more importantly oil, given current commodity prices — from other tight formations here.
“It has applications across the gamut, so we’re very excited about the potential in Central Alberta, and that’s why we’re committed to a new facility there.”
In fact, he pointed out, in August there were more horizontal wells than vertical wells drilled in Western Canada.
“That’s the first time that’s ever occurred in Western Canada.”
Packers Plus Energy’s Red Deer office services operations as far away as southwestern Saskatchewan. The city is centrally located and also an attractive place for people to live and work, said Bobrosky.
But he also thinks the mature oil and gas fields in Central Alberta still have a lot of life in them — particularly with improved drilling technology like that offered by Packers Plus Energy.
“A very low percentage of the oil was actually ever recovered. So we can go back and make that number a little higher.
“We’re very bullish on the long-term prospects in Central Alberta.”
Packers Plus Energy celebrated the grand opening of its new Red Deer facility earlier this month.
The company has 27 offices in Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the world.