By at least one measure–the amount of Alberta drilling activity–the industry “health” appears to be in decline.
The chart above plots the number of Alberta wells drilled each month since Jan 1, 2005. The plotted line is separated by year for emphasis. Showing drilling activity in this manner looks like a heart beat. In this way, it serves as a metaphor for the economic health of the Alberta upstream business.
The strength of the heart beat has weakened in recent years–particularly in 2016, when about 2,600 wells were drilled. This amount represents 15% of Alberta drilling activity a decade ago (in 2007) when about 16,800 wells were drilled.
Note: This interpretation of drilling in Alberta is largely descriptive and does not attempt to explain why the overall decline has occurred. However, within each year, after a busy January and February, activity naturally declines in April and May as part of “spring breakup” when heavy equipment is prohibited on many rural roads.
Original data source related to this post: AER – ST49 – Daily Drilling Activity