Jan 13 Energy firms in Canada more than doubled
the number of rigs drilling for oil this week to the highest
level in almost two years as producers returned en masse from
Christmas breaks and crude prices remain near 18-month highs.
Drillers added 89 oil rigs during the week ended Jan. 13
bringing the total count up to 170, the highest level since
February 2015, data from Baker Hughes Inc showed on
That was the biggest weekly increase since drillers added
129 rigs during the week of Jan. 9, 2015.
Drillers in Canada, like their counterparts in the United
States, slashed the number of rigs operating during most of 2015
and 2016 as energy prices collapsed due to a global glut.
Energy firms in both the United States and Canada started
adding rigs over the summer of 2016 as U.S. crude prices climbed
over the key $50 a barrel level that analysts said would prompt
drillers to return to the well pad.
U.S. crude futures were trading around $53 a barrel
on Friday, a couple dollars below a near 18-month high of $55.24
set at the start of 2017.
Drilling in Canada is seasonal.
The Canadian rig count usually increase in January as
producers start drilling again after a Christmas break before
declining in the spring when the snow melts and it becomes too
muddy to operate. The industry calls that snow melt the spring
The rig count usually increases again in the summer when the
ground dries and holds around those levels through the end of
December when the count drops during the last week of the year
for the Christmas break.
In 2016, the oil rig count jumped from 12 during the last
week of 2015 to a high for the year of 134 in January before
falling to as low as eight during the spring break up in April.
The count then climbed to 84 rigs during the summer and
continued to grow to a high of 117 by mid December as rising
crude prices encouraged drillers to add rigs before falling to
52 during the Christmas week of 2016.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)