01/22/2015 12:55 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT

Oil well association predicts 41% drop in active drilling for 2015

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors is predicting major job losses in 2015 because of low oil prices.

It issued a revised drilling activity forecast Thursday based on oil at $55 US per barrel.

Previous forecasts were based on oil at $85 per barrel.

The Calgary-based association says it expects the downturn will mean a 41 per cent drop in active drilling rigs, from an average of 370 per day in 2014 to 203 in 2015.

It estimates that will lead to a loss of 3,400 direct jobs and 19,500 indirect jobs this year compared to last.

In a written statement, association president Mark Scholz said the industry has come through tough times before.

"I’m confident that we will do that again, but right now, that’s going to involve buckling in," he said.