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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > Setting the Stage: Before 1947 > Early Exploration > Norman Wells

Leduc: Causes and Effects

Norman Wells

Imperial Oil Well No. 1 at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, 1923. Before Leduc, the first oil-producing well in western Canada was in what is now Waterton in 1902. After this, the biggest oil boom was at Turner Valley on May 14, 1914. The Norman Wells were discovered in 1920. However, even the history of the Norman Wells begins much earlier. In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie explored the Mackenzie River. He made an observation about oil on the banks of the river. There would be many more reports of oil in that vicinity. It was in 1919, however, that Imperial Oil began exploratory drilling, using a cable tool rig, on the MacKenzie. 

The discovery of Norman Wells set off a search for oil in Alberta. As a result, some comparatively small discoveries were made: Viking-Kinsella field that resulted in a pipeline to Edmonton in 1923, and a discovery of gas in Lloydminster in 1934. Other finds included Wainwright in 1925 and Lloydminster in 1939. These finds however were not comparatively as large as Leduc was yet to become.


Technology Through TimeHeroes of Resource DevelopmentPlaces to GoEarly Industry: Case StudiesLeduc: Causes and Effects

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