News Release - January 14, 2009
GREAT YEAR FOR OIL AND GAS WELL DRILLING
Saskatchewan is coming off a near-record year for the drilling of oil and gas wells in the province.
Year-end statistics show that 4,045 oil and gas wells were drilled in 2008. That's the second-best year for drilling activity, just slightly behind the number for 2003 (4,195) and a 17 per cent increase over 2007's figure.
"These drilling numbers are the latest indicator of the robust performance of our oil and gas industry," Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said. "Combine them with the record revenues we received last year from the sale of petroleum and natural gas rights, and it's obvious that the industry has tremendous confidence in Saskatchewan as both a dynamic oil jurisdiction and an excellent place in which to do business."
Of the well drilling total, 2,824 were oil wells, a 23 per cent increase over 2007's figure, and 1,221 were gas wells, a 5.6 per cent increase over 2007's number.
The highest drilling count was in the Weyburn-Estevan area where 1,398 wells were drilled, largely reflecting the continuing interest in the red-hot Bakken play. The Kindersley area was next with 1,006 wells drilled, followed by the Lloydminster area with 865 wells and the Swift Current area with 776 wells drilled.
One-third of the total wells drilled in 2008 were horizontal. Boyd noted as recently as 20 years ago, horizontal drilling technology was experimental, but that horizontal wells now account for roughly 45 per cent of Saskatchewan's total oil production.
"The global economic situation and the wild fluctuations in oil prices may possibly cause a reduction in drilling activity for 2009," Boyd said. "But our oil and gas industry continues to be well positioned for growth and benefits from one of the most competitive and stable tax and royalty regimes anywhere."
Last year, the province's oil and gas industry recorded approximately $15 billion in sales and invested $4.4 billion in exploration and development activity. It provides direct and indirect employment for 29,000 people.
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