A new study shows that the total number of companies producing oil and gas in Western Canada has fallen by 17.5 per cent in the four years since global oil prices began crashing at the end of 2014.
Consulting firm XI Technologies of Calgary says an analysis of its database shows that a total of 1,334 active companies _ publicly traded, privately held and foreign-owned _ reported oil or gas production in December 2018.
That’s down 282 from 1,616 in the same month four years earlier, a period in which investor confidence was strained due to low oil prices which bottomed out in late 2016 and by oil discounts last year blamed on a lack of pipeline capacity.
XI data solutions specialist Shovik Sengupta says the data points to a period of significant consolidation in the industry.
Tom Pavic, senior vice-president with Calgary-based Sayer Energy Advisors, says the missing firms are likely predominantly small players that haven’t had the financial backing needed to drill today’s expensive unconventional oil and gas wells.
The trend is consistent with a 31-per-cent decline in the number of senior publicly traded energy companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and a 44-per-cent falloff in the number on the TSX Venture Exchange over the past four years.