There was some positive news to end the week in Saskatchewan's resource industries.
A group that advocates for the oil industry predicts the number of wells drilled in Saskatchewan will be way up this year.
The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) issued an update to its drilling activity forecast, estimating 2,670 new wells will be drilled in Saskatchewan this year. That is up from 1,940 wells in the original forecast.
"That would be a significant increase over last year." enthused Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan Minister of Energy and MLA for Weyburn-Big Muddy. "All of last year, we had just over 16 hundred new wells, So if this forecast actually does hold out, and certainly there's a lot of the year left, but if it does hold out, we're expecting a thousand new wells, more new wells, than just last year." Duncan told Discover Weyburn.
The cabinet minister has some faith that the PSAC forecast could come true."First three months of this year, we're at nearly 900 wells have already been drilled in the first three months, and that compares to just 400 wells last year in the first three months." said Duncan. "So, I think their numbers are pretty solid, you know, we're hopeful and optimistic that they're going to hold throughout the year."
Duncan also believes much of the forecast oil patch activity will be in the southeast. "Certainly, that's where a lot of the attention has been, especially on the land sales here, over the last number of months, and years, in fact." he added. "Companies have some time, number of years, to drill out those locations. I don't have a breakdown in the number, but I would expect a fair number would be here in the southeast."
Nationally, PSAC predicts 6,680 new wells to be drilled this year, an increase of 60 per cent from the original forecast released in November, 2016.
There was also some optimism coming from the province's potash industry.
Saskatoon-based Potash Corp of Saskatchewan announced the company's outlook for the year ahead is looking up.
The corporation says it expects to earn between 45 and 65 cents per share this year, about 25 per cent more than it thought in January.