CALGARY -- The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors is raising its forecast for oil and natural gas drilling following what it said was a robust first quarter due to stronger than expected oil and gas prices.

The association says it now expects 6,902 wells to be drilled this year, up 6.9 per cent from its original forecast in November last year for 6,457.

Oil and gas prices soared earlier this year after Russian invaded Ukraine and a ban on Russian oil imports by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The revised drilling outlook projects operating days 62,121 for the year, up from the original forecast for 58,111, while the number of active rigs is expected to be 170, up from 159.

The forecast also suggests there will be more jobs in the sector with up to 37,409 direct and indirect positions for year, compared with earlier expectations for 34,925.

However, it notes that labour shortages are expected to be a drag on the industry for the remainder of the year.