Drop in oil well drilling signals investor uncertainty, agency says

The national petroleum trade association has dropped its prediction for the number of oil wells expected to be drilled in 2019, signaling a decline in investor confidence.

The agency, Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), says a lack of investor confidence has resulted in a steep dip in projects from its original prediction for 2019, issued in Nov. 2018, to its current one, published Tuesday.

In Alberta, the group estimates 2,948 wells will be drilled, a 16.5 per cent decrease from the 3,532 wells predicted in November. In Saskatchewan, that estimated dip is higher at 18 per cent fewer, dropped to 1,994 from the 2,442 predicted last fall.

PSAC says their new estimate suggests 1,000 fewer oil wells will be dug across Canada in 2019, a 15 per cent drop from the original prediction.

“We must find a way to help Canadians understand how responsibly we develop our oil and natural gas resources so that critical infrastructure projects can proceed,” president and CEO Gary Mar said in a news release Tuesday.

The number of drilled oil wells is one key marker of investor confidence. Mar cited multiple reasons why that willingness to invest has declined so rapidly.

For one, he noted Alberta’s decision to curtail oil production — a cut of 8.7 per cent intended to raise prices — is instead causing uncertainty for investors. That’s resulted, Mar said, in producers delaying spending and moving capital funding to other markets.

(Ellis Choe/CBC)

LNG Canada had made a final investment decision for its Kitimat LNG project, he said, but production activity to supply natural gas to the facility is “still years away.”

The quashing of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the proposed environmental assessment overhaul through Bill C-69 also add to that uncertainty.

“Lack of access to markets beyond the U.S. delayed again… and competitive issues continue to weight heavily on Canada’s ability to attract capital investment,” Mar said.

PSAC has proposed a “Canadian Energy” brand to assist in marketing petroleum products internationally. They said such a venture would allow Canadians to “show how proud they are of our record of robust regulations, high environmental standards, worker safety and human rights.”

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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