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The organization that represents drilling companies in Canada, Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC), forecasts moderate growth in its members' activities next year.
The increase in the number of wells drilled is expected to reach approximately 8%.
Most of this growth is expected to occur in the second half of the year as the market emerges from a weaker third quarter of 2023, the CAOEC statement said.
The association plans to drill 6,229 wells in 2024, compared to 5,748 this year. However, its forecasts are based on a price of US$88 per barrel of oil, whereas it is currently around US$77. Likewise, its natural gas price forecast is higher than the current price.
The anticipated increase is stronger than that observed between 2022 and 2023, which failed to reach 1%.
According to CAOEC, energy producers could continue their strategy of budgetary rigor next year. The profits of the last two years were mainly used to repay debt and compensate shareholders.
However, the current and future completion of several infrastructure projects, such as the Key Access Pipeline System, Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines, could spur stronger growth.
Drilling companies also benefit from a diversification of energy sources.
Explorations of lithium, helium and geothermal energy have thus begun in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Many carbon capture and storage projects have also been formulated and could lead to more work for drilling companies, if they come to fruition.
The association, which has been complaining about recruitment difficulties for several years, has noted an improvement in the number of applications. Senior-level field positions are in high demand, and finding experienced workers to fill them has not been easy, the release added.