Members of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors booked 111,482 operating days in 2012, off 18 per cent from 135,830 in the 2011, according to Rig Locator records.

CAODC members drilled a total of 21.71 million metres last year compared to 23.41 million metres in 2011, while wells averaged a record 1,986 metres during 2012 versus 1,841 metres the prior year.

It took CAODC members an average 10.20 days to drill a well during the 12-month period compared to 10.70 days in 2011.

Including oilsands evaluation holes and experimental wells, the top contractor during 2012 was Precision Drilling. The contractor rig released 3,480 wells and drilled 5.44 million metres.

Precision’s main customer during the year was Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which account for 977 of its wells (28.1 per cent). The next top customers for Precision were Husky Energy Inc. (340 wells) and Encana Corporation (330 wells).

The company’s rig 255 drilled 99 wells over the 12-month period, the highest count for a rig, while Precision rig 235 drilled 98 wells over the year.

Second-place finisher Ensign Drilling Inc. rig released 2,311 wells in 2012 and drilled 3.52 million metres of hole.

Canadian Natural was also the main customer for Ensign (418 wells, or 18.1 per cent of the total). Cenovus Energy Inc. (243 wells) and Suncor Energy Inc. (139 wells) were the next top customers for Ensign.

Savanna Energy Services Corp. was the third-ranked contractor, drilling 1,395 wells in 2012 and finishing 2.43 million metres. The company’s main customers were Cenovus (380 wells, or 27.3 per cent of the total), Twin Butte Energy Ltd. (91 wells) and Crescent Point Energy Corp. (82 wells).

On a rig release basis, Trinidad Drilling Ltd. placed fourth with 904 wells for the year (1.96 million metres), followed by Akita Drilling Ltd. and its 675 wells (1.02 million metres). Nabors Drilling drilled 655 wells last year but finished 1.76 million metres of hole.

Precision was the top contractor for horizontal wells during the year with 1,642 wells rig released and 4.0 million metres (excluding test/experimental or DSW wells). Ensign was second with 1,125 horizontal wells rig released (2.64 million metres), followed by Trinidad Drilling with 721 horizontals (1.8 million metres).

Excluding test wells, Precision’s share of the market rose to 28.82 per cent, up from 27.91 per cent in 2011. Ensign’s market share lifted to 17.19 per cent in 2012 from 16.43 per cent the prior year.

Savanna had the biggest year-over-year jump in operating days. Excluding test wells, the contractor booked 15,343 operating days in 2012 compared to 11,959 in 2011 (a difference of 3,384). Other large year-over-year increases in operating days were recorded by Betts Drilling Ltd. (a difference of 388), Vortex Drilling Ltd. (339), Saxon Drilling Canada LP (243) and Ironhand Drilling Inc. (242).

Rig utilization during the year for CAODC members was 38.33 per cent, down from 46.13 per cent during 2011.

Excluding experimental and Eastern Canada wells, Vortex’s average of 1.1 rigs during the year had an 81.80 per cent utilization rate. Akita’s 38 rigs recorded a 67.54 per cent utilization rate, while Alliance Drilling And Oilfield Service Ltd.’s average of 1.4 rigs had a 66.29 per cent utilization rate.

Vortex ranked first in average metres drilled per rig (68,763 metres), followed by Ironhand (62,192 metres) and Alliance Drilling (60,836 metres).