Drilling forecast revised upward

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) has nudged upward its estimate of the number of wells that will be drilled this year.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) has nudged upward its estimate of the number of wells that will be drilled this year.

The association, which represents the contract drilling and service rig industry, said Monday that it now expects 10,649 wells to be drilled in 2013.

That’s up 2.3 per cent from the 10,409 wells that CAODC was forecasting as of November 2012.

It said in a release that drilling activity in Western Canada during the first quarter was close to expectations, with an average of 496 rigs operating for a utilization rate of 61 per cent.

In Alberta, the rig utilization rate averaged 60 per cent, with 365 rigs out of a fleet of 607 running.

The Saskatchewan rate was 56 per cent (70 rigs out of 125), in British Columbia it was 81 per cent (47 rigs out of 58), and in Manitoba it was 55 per cent (13 rigs out of 24).

CAODC now expects an improvement on the 35 per cent utilization rate it had projected for the third quarter, and has bumped the figure to 40 per cent, with 330 rigs working.

It still anticipates 20 per cent utilization in the second quarter (164 rigs working) and 45 per cent in the fourth quarter (374 rigs working).

CAODC had forecast last November that the fleet size this year would average 830 rigs. It’s now adjusted that figure to 823 rigs.

Total operating days this year is expected to reach 121,126, as compared with an earlier forecast of 118,401.

CAODC cited market access as a continuing concern for the industry.