CALGARY, Alberta -- The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) has released its 2017 drilling forecast. According to a statement on the association's website, CAODC is projecting that 4,665 wells—an increase of 1,103 from 2016 (3,562)—will be drilled next year. Meanwhile, operating days are projected to reach 48,980—an increase of 8,577 from 2016. The rig fleet is expected to decrease by 55 to 610. “After record low utilization rates in 2016, it would be difficult to suggest 2017 could be anything but better. Weak commodity prices coupled with abnormal political and social factors, has led to sustained challenges for the industry. While the price of WTI is projected to stabilize somewhat, continued uncertainty surrounding pipeline infrastructure, and a looming price on carbon, continue to push Canada to the back of the line with respect to long-term investment,” CAODC said.