CALGARY — The association that represents Canadian oil and gas drilling companies says it expects "muted stability" for the industry in 2018 despite recent strengthening in oil prices.
The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors is calling for 6,138 wells to be drilled in its 2018 forecast, an increase of just 107 from the number expected to be drilled this year.
It says the Canadian rig fleet is expected to shrink by 19 to a total of 615 next year as drilling contractors continue to struggle to find capital needed to keep older equipment running and reinvest in replacement rigs.
Last month, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada said it also expects a slight recovery in drilling in Canada in 2018 versus this year but the count will still be 30 per cent lower than in 2014 when oil prices peaked at more than US$100 per barrel.
New York-traded crude closed at US$56.42 per barrel on Monday, up from lows of less than US$43 in June.
Alberta government-owned lender ATB Financial said Monday the energy sector has "stabilized" and will enjoy a modest rebound in activity next year, helping fuel 3.9 per cent provincial economic growth.