Financial Post – April 8, 1967
They Drill for Resources
“The Canadian petroleum drilling industry is in serious trouble. Activity dropped by 18% last year, and there is every indication that the decline will continue through 1967. There is little we can do about the problem. It’s largely a case of weathering the storm and hoping that conditions will improve before too many smaller companies go under.”
The speaker is Allan G. Holley, 41, vice-president, Nabors Drilling Ltd., Calgary, and 1967 president of the 132-member Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.
Holley says tight money, strong demand for labor, and, particularly, deep-well development in northwestern Alberta are responsible for the drilling industry’s plight. He explains:
“The northern Alberta boom, though beneficial to the major producers (it has boosted Canada’s oil reserves by an estimated 1,000 million bbl.), has been harmful to the drilling and well-servicing industries as it involves the drilling of fewer wells at a much higher per-well cost. Smaller companies – and particularly those primarily equipped with shallow-well drilling rigs – have been hard hit.”
Holley says that at last report only 218 of western Canada’s 344 drilling rigs were employed, compared with 286 at the same time a year ago.
His organization, whose membership includes most of the major service rig operators as well as a number of material supply companies, plans to ask the Alberta government to review its new pro-rationing policy to soften its impact on the drilling servicing industry. But he holds out little hope for immediate relief.
Holley was born in Winnipeg. He served in the RCAF from 1942 to 1945. He then attended Carleton College, Ottawa, before joining an accounting firm. He entered the oil industry in 1952, when he joined Parker Drilling Co. of Canada, which recently became Nabors Drilling Ltd., after acquiring the Canadian assets of the original U.S. company. Nabors has 14 deep-well drilling rigs. It is a public company operating in Alberta, the Yukon Territory and Alaska.
Holley is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and a member of the Calgary Petroleum Club. He and his wife, Donna, have three sons.