The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC) predicts 42,350 people will be employed directly and indirectly by the drilling sector in 2023. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press) The organization representing Canada’s oil and gas drilling sector says it expects more activity in 2023. The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC) says it expects 6,409 wells to be drilled in Canada in 2023, an approximately 15 per cent increase from 2022. The CAOEC predicts 42,350 people will be employed directly and indirectly by the drilling sector in 2023, an increase of more than 5,400 jobs year-over-year. The industry group says it expects a boost next year from the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Coastal GasLink project, both of which will increase Canadian oil and gas capacity. It says the energy transition is also creating opportunity for drillers in areas such as helium, carbon capture utilization and storage, in-situ hydrogen, and mineral extraction from oilfield brines. The group says labour recruitment and retention remain a challenge to overcome in the energy industry.