Producer capital spending is estimated at $28.08 billion for 2017, according to DOB estimates of 55 E&Ps, following an announcement of higher spending plans by Encana Corporation this week, the latest operator to officially announce its plans.

The 2017 estimate is roughly 20 per cent higher than the 2016 tally.

Encana’s 2017 capital program is expected to be between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion, higher than the $1.13 billion for 2016. Total production is expected to be between 320,000 and 330,000 boe a day.

Encana plans to grow crude and condensate production by more than 35 per cent through 2017 and production from its core assets by more than 20 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, Keyera Corp. on Thursday said it was encouraged by the recovery in commodity prices compared to the first half of 2016.

“There are indications that drilling activity has increased, particularly in geological zones rich in NGLs, such as the Spirit River (near the Alder Flats gas plant) and the Montney (near our Simonette gas plant),” the company said in its quarterly results.

Things are also looking up on the drilling front — operators across Canada drilled 808 wells last month, excluding experimental holes, up 65 per cent from 490 wells rig released in January 2016 (DOB, Feb 16, 2017).

On a metres-drilled basis, operators rig released 2.07 million metres of hole in January (excluding experimental wells), up 63 per cent from 1.27 million metres in the prior-year period.