Hey there, Foolish energy market observers. In case you missed Thursday's episode of this turbulent soap opera we call the oil patch, two leading Canadian producers outlined their capital programs for 2009. While nothing revealed in these announcements was as shocking as evil Dr. Carmichael's plan to kidnap his amnesic half-sister (or is she his daughter!?), the budget updates still help us Fools to follow the plot of this ever-twisting tale.

We'll begin with Albertan heartthrob EnCana (NYSE:ECA). The independent has lined up a 2009 budget of about $6.1 billion, which marks a reduction of about 18% from the present year. Compared to Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), whose spending plan has been slashed over the past few months, EnCana's budget cut 'tis but a scratch.

Just as lust and betrayal are recurring themes of the daytime TV soaps, so are prudence, conservatism, and flexibility when it comes to these oil-and-gas company press releases. EnCana used all three words in its announcement, as did cross-town Calgary competitor Petro-Canada (NYSE:PCZ). Aren't these characters supposed to have their own catch phrases?

Petro-Canada's capital program impresses for its bold commitment of $2.1 billion -- just over half the entire budget -- to "growth projects, exploration and new venture developments." This certainly doesn't appear to be a firm that's struggling to keep its head above water. Also eye-catching is the firm's decision to execute a bunch of turnarounds during the early part of the year. This capitalizes on the commodity slump, and sets the firm up for an output boost when prices are back on track.

It just wouldn't be a classic episode without a guest appearance by ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), and fans were treated on the very same day to some comments by CEO Rex Tillerson. One highlight was Tillerson's reiteration of the firm's five-year, $125 billion capital program. The only thing that might bring that number down is reduced material cost, which Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) anticipates as well. It's good to be the king!

Well, that's it for this recap of As the Drillbit Turns. Be sure to tune in next time. There are many more twists and turns in store.

Chesapeake is an Inside Value selection, and Petrobras is an Income Investor pick. Take any of our Foolish newsletters for a spin, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Toby Shute is occasionally captivated by the occasional muted soap while at the gym, but he doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy keeps apprised of all the latest happenings in Oakdale.