Derrick Digest for Dec 23, 2016

Oil sands players' 2017 capex budgets signal a return to growth

The Derrick Digest is a weekly collection of curated content, based on events from across the oil and gas industry, that caught our eye at Pennine Petroleum Corporation.

Enjoy and share! (The Derrick Digest will return on Friday, Jan. 6, following a one-week Christmas hiatus.)


DEC. 23, 2016

It appears “capex” is no longer a four-letter word in Canada’s oil sands.

Some of the major players in Canada’s oil industry have released details of their 2017 capital expenditure forecasts—and, with the worst of the economic downturn now in the rear-view mirror, are plotting a return to growth.

Husky Energy has boosted its capex budget to somewhere between $2.6 and $2.7 billion, with much of that in heavy oil. The list includes:

  • Increasing volumes from thermal heavy oil projects near Lloydminster, AB;

  • Boosting production at its Sunrise SAGD project near Fort McMurray, and its Tucker SAGD project near Cold Lake; and

  • Drilling 16 new wells in Western Canada.

Meanwhile, Cenovus has increased its 2017 budget by nearly 25 percent to $1.3 billion, and intends to restart expansion of its Christina Lake development.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. plans to restart early-stage work at its Kirby North project in the oil sands region, while Calgary’s Crescent Point Energy Corp. expects to boost production in 2017 by about 10%.



More Aboriginal pro-energy voices are making themselves heard in the wake of the federal government’s recent approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain twinning project.

Take Jim Boucher, chief of the Fort McKay First Nation near Fort McMurray.

In recent weeks, Boucher told an Assembly of First Nations gathering in Gatineau, QC: “When it comes to pipelines and oil sands development, it’s clear from our perspective that we need to do more. We’re pro-oil sands. If it weren’t for the oil, my people would be in poverty right now.”

Dean Manywounds, vice chair of the Indian Resource Council, says First Nations communities want economic sustainability—and that comes with taking part in responsible natural resource development.

“The resources are all around us, and we do have to participate,” he said. “We have to find a way to build a successful future for our people and our kids.”



Facts have been hard to come by during widespread Dakota Access Pipeline protests. But they are presented with stunning clarity by Jack Dalrymple.

The former governor of North Dakota, one day after leaving office on Dec. 14, delivered a scorching rebuke to the anti-DAPL movement in an opinion editorial that was published by the Billings Gazette and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Mob rule triumphed over law and common sense, says Dalrymple, who writes that “the facts of the permitting process were not only omitted in much of the discussion among those who disagreed with the pipeline, but were twisted in order to paint the state of North Dakota and federal government as reckless and racist.”

Dalrymple points out:

  • The DAPL route was modified 140 times to ensure environmental safety;

  • Not one person from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ever attended any of the public input meetings held for two years;

  • The DAPL route does not cross reservation land at any point;

  • Protests devolved into slaughter of livestock on private land, and wreckage of construction equipment; and

  • Pipeline workers, area residents, and families of law enforcement were harassed almost daily.

Dalrymple adds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dec. 5 decision to further study the pipeline route “truly tramples on a legal and orderly process in favor of intimidation and mob rule.”