CALGARY — The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) predicts the number of rigs working in Western Canada will drop by 48 next year, from the current level of 545 to 497. 

Despite that, the number of wells drilled will increase by eight in 2020 and the number of drilling days will also go up, by 88, to 46,599, according to the CAODC’s 2020 drilling forecast.

The group  also says the total number of jobs will remain unchanged from 2019 levels at 22,313, but points out that remains a loss of close to 14,000 (13,731) from 2018.

The CAODC says since 2017, an estimated $30 billion in foreign capital has vanished from the Western Canadian oil patch.

It says its members have moved 29 high-spec drilling rigs, several service rigs, and the associated personnel to the United States in order to find work.

It blames regulatory holdups like Bill C-48 and Bill C-69, and pipeline delays, citing delays to Enbridge’s Line 3 and the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion for many of the problems.

The COADC says the results of the federal election in October have pushed  the sentiment toward Canadian oil and gas to near all-time lows.

“It has been another extremely difficult year for our members,” says CAODC president and CEO, Mark Scholz.

“The attacks from foreign-funded, radical environmental groups and punitive policy measures from our own federal government have caused Canadian oil and gas families to suffer unnecessarily.”

Scholz says the oil and gas industry is suffering an existential crisis.

“It would appear the only place Canada’s exceptional reputation for technologically-driven environmental best practices isn’t recognized is in Ottawa,” explains Scholz.

“If we do not create an environment where the oil and gas industry can compete internationally, we won’t have an industry left in this country.”

In a press release Wednesday the group lays out it’s four key demands for the federal government, which it says are required to stabilize and restore confidence in the industry.

Those include:

  • Accept Alberta’s climate plan as a federal equivalent program
  • Repeal Bills C-48 and Bill C-69
  • Guarantee the completion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project using all available tools and resources
  • Include and prioritize the responsible development and export of Canadian oil and gas as an effective and timely means of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions