The Grande Prairie region may not be feeling the brunt of the downturn, but a new drilling forecast from the Petroleum Services Association of Canada suggests low consumer confidence and far fewer new projects expected in 2019.
As part of its third update, PSAC now projects 2,425 wells to be drilled in Alberta, down from 3,532 initially projected at the start of the year. One expert believes the Grande Prairie area may be a little sheltered from some of the worst news, but it remains a huge potential problem.
“Right in the Grande Prairie area, we are really fortunate with the Montney development,” said Rob Petrone, President of the Grande Prairie Petroleum Club.”
“There are several companies [in] the last few years have announced capital projects and building infrastructure in anticipation in accessing world markets. The Grande Prairie area itself is still a bit bustling with activity,” he added.
Petrone, however, won’t downplay the potential long term hardships facing the oil and gas sector, both locally, and provincially.
“Until we compete in the world market and [are] getting our product to market we are going to continue having these challenges. The industry doesn’t operate well under uncertain times and that’s what we are dealing with here.”
Petrone suggested that the recent provincial election, as well as the upcoming federal election in October, are points of uncertainty which can dent confidence in investment in the sector.
According to PSAC President Gary Mar, the forecast numbers haven’t been this low since 2016.