Discovery returns to the Alberta oil fields for season 3 of Licence to Drill

With hostile conditions, a punishing schedule, and a high-stakes gamble – costing some operations $250,000 per day – drilling for Canadian oil is only for the toughest of tough. And Discovery’s tough guys are back for more.

In pursuit of “black gold,” Season 3 of Licence to Drill returns to Discovery on Tuesday, January 8 at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT, joining the channel’s golden Tuesday lineup, following Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold.

The drillers and bosses, roughnecks, motormen, derrickhands, truckers and swamp-rats are working harder, shouting louder, and getting dirtier and rougher than ever – they’re under new orders: drill more wells and drill faster.

Last season, Calgary’s Penn West took a chance on new technology to blow a round of new holes in one of North America’s biggest reservoirs. This year, with state-of-the-art rigs from Bonanza Drilling, they’re setting the bar at an all-time high: drill 227 wells in less than 100 days.

This original Canadian series by Montreal’s Pixcom Productions offers an exclusive look at an industry where four out of five wells drilled are a bust, and the prospects are too risky for all but the most daring companies. With eight new episodes, Season 3 returns to the rig operations of Penn West Exploration, one of the largest oil and natural gas producers in Canada.

The new season follows Penn West on its most ambitious plan to-date: to drill more oil wells in a three-month period than they ever have before. With a focus on the Pembina Field, Willesden-Green, and the Peace River oil reserves in Central Alberta, Licence to Drill captures cutting-edge technology, a daring crew, and an aggressive schedule as Penn West races to unlock millions of barrels of oil that has been unreachable… until now.

Also in Season 3, Licence to Drill delves into the groundbreaking technology that’s transforming the oil industry with an inside look at Bonanza Drilling Inc, an Alberta-based company that builds, supplies and manages the oil drilling rigs that are the backbone of the Canadian energy industry. This season, follow the new Bonanza Rig 6, “fresh out of the box,” from point of origin to its very first drilling site in Central Alberta.

Highlights from the first Season 3 episodes of Licence to Drill include:

LICENCE TO DRILL: “We’re Riggers”
Tues., Jan. 8 at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT
Rig 3 driller, Cody Wilson’s hopes for an easy night are shattered when his drill string suddenly loses 12 tons. Drilling supervisor Logan Wild races to retrieve 500 metres of pipe and a half a million-dollar cache of high-tech tools left two kilometres underground. At Bonanza Drilling headquarters in Brooks, AB, loose cannon Kelly Pelsma gets an attitude adjustment when his bosses order him to deliver a brand new Rig 6 to its first job site.

LICENCE TO DRILL: “Greenhorns”
Tues., Jan. 15 at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT
Near Eckville, AB, Pelsma grapples with a brand new rig, a green crew and the unpredictable motorman Ryan “Hutch” Hutchinson, whose rig floor antics and safety violations put the entire crew at risk. On Rig 3, recently promoted derrickhand Mike Bencz can’t keep the rig’s mud flowing. Wilson’s drilling is delayed, but when the coffee runs out, roughneck Travis Flexhaug finds out his days on the oil patch are numbered.

LICENCE TO DRILL: “Friendly Rivalry”
Tues., Jan. 22 at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT
When equipment fails, the Rig 6 crew gets off to a rough start and is forced to muscle the 313-kilogram pipes out of the well, old-school. On Rig 6, Pelsma feels the heat of a surprise safety inspector. In Medicine Hat, AB, fledgling driller Colten Bosch leaves home for Rig 3, where a motley crew of rookies learns that stress trickles down and some bosses are impossible to please.

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