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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > Setting the Stage: Before 1947 > Early Exploration > Hell's Half-Acre

Leduc: Causes and Effects

Hell's Half-Acre

Flaring at Winalta Well, c.1940.The enormous waste of natural gas was a dubious distinction that Turner Valley claimed for many years. This problem occurred due to the common practice of passing the gas through separators, then flaring it off. The producers flared the by-product gas after producing the oil. This had greatly reduced the pressure on the oil reservoir, reducing the amount of recoverable oil. As a result, the Turner Valley field realized only a portion of its oil potential. 

But the size of the problem was not clear until the oil column was later discovered. The flares were visible in the sky for miles around. Many of these were in a small ravine known to locals as Hell's Half-Acre. Because of the presence of the flares, the grass stayed green year-round, local hunters hunted with the artificial light and migrating birds wintered in their warmth. By the 1930s, the Depression would worsen the economic situation in Canada and as a result, drilling at Turner Valley ground to a halt.

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