Drillers in Western Canada believe oil activity will beat record

Oct 27, 2004 02:00 AM

The group representing drillers of oil and gas wells believes activity across Western Canada this year and next will exceed the record levels it previously forecast. Concerns linger, however, about whether or not labour levels can keep pace with the drilling boom, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors suggested.
"We're saying we'll be successful enough in recruiting enough experienced people and trainees to actually meet the forecast," said Don Herring, the Calgary-based association's president. "But certainly we've seen in the past couple of winters it has been a challenge -- there have been times we haven't operated the drilling fleet efficiently."

The association's revised outlook for 2004 bumps the number of completed oil and gas wells in Western Canada from a previous estimate of 20,412 -- marking a new a record -- to 21,312. The number of completed wells in 2005 is then expected to jump to 24,205, spurred by oil prices at $ 40 a barrel and natural gas at $ 6.12 per thousand cf.
"CAODC anticipates continued strength in operator cash flow. The forecast assumes our contractors will not experience significant access issues, nor will they be manpower constrained," the association said.

With an eye on potential shortfalls in numbers of trained rig workers, the association held a job fair on Vancouver Island and has another planned for north-eastern BC. Herring said member companies have, at times, had trouble operating rigs with three crews, which means, in the absence of a swing crew, drilling comes to a halt.
The association is forecasting active rigs in the first quarter of 2005 at 613 compared to 581 in the first quarter this year. Job activity will peak in the first quarter at 115,500 workers and will average 12,000 drilling and service rig personnel over the course of the year, the association said.

Source: cnews
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