For the remainder of the year, we will continue to focus on providing operational excellence to the field, reactivating rigs in multiple basins in the U.S., preparing for winter drilling season in Canada, and keeping an active recruitment and training program to crew up rigs. We have reactivated 51 rigs since 2016 lows and are pleased to have hired nearly 1,000 field personnel, many of whom were previously part of the Precision family
Many have taken this as a sign of optimism that the oil industry has finally turned a corner and companies are (finally) beginning to hire again. Unfortunately, the stats are still grim. Over 100,000-150,000+ oil and gas workers are unemployed in Alberta, with more layoffs recently announced by Enbridge. Shell also sold a major Alberta and BC gas property to Tourmaline which will likely lead to more layoffs for Shell. Drilling counts are also down roughly 27% year over year in North America.
However, the optimism emanating from oil and gas workers desperate to see companies hiring again is not completely misplaced. A number of companies have been hiring again – according to several oil and gas job boards, and linkedin, there appear to be nearly 10,000 available positions in North America (~8,500 in the United States and ~1,500 in Canada). Another factor is companies are adapting to a lower-for-longer oil price environment. Most have finally shifted their plans from aggressive cost-cutting measures to modest growth and have resumed, or planned for, drilling to increase production and cash flow.
After such an ugly 2.5 years it’s hard to imagine the worst is not over. However, many were likely saying the same thing one year ago. Fortunately the price of oil has made a good run lately and OPEC has finally agreed to re-balance the market, both are very positive news items for a workforce looking to see more people head back to work.