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Canadian Drillers Moving Rigs South to Chase Better Prospects in Texas Oilfields

CALGARY — A growing number of Canadian drilling rigs are being moved south of the border to take advantage of brighter prospects in the United States — and observers say it's unlikely they will ever return home.   A week ago, Calgary-based Akita Drilling Ltd., primarily a Canadian driller, announced it would deploy its first rig into the prolific Permian Basin in West Texas by moving one from Western Canada. Meanwhile, Calgary-based Trinidad Drilling Ltd. says it's moving two idle drilling rigs from Western Canada to the same Texas oilfield, noting the move will boost its U.S. fleet to 69 rigs compared with 68 in Canada.   Both companies say they are looking at moving more rigs south because of strong demand from U.S. oil and gas companies. The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says the Canadian drilling fleet has shrunk from nearly 900 rigs in 2014 to 621 now, and will likely fall to less than 600 this year. It says only 52 per cent of the rigs in Canada's fleet were active as of Jan. 22.   The Canadian Press

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