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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > Setting the Stage: Before 1947 > A Growing Reliance

Leduc: Causes and Effects

A Growing Reliance

Frosted Separator, 1914.Canadian oil companies relied on imported crude oil, mainly from the United States, to supplement the declining production in southwestern Ontario. After 1911, when naval fleets began converting from coal to oil, the government urged the industry to find and develop domestic oil supplies.

The far-reaching exploration efforts had one success—an oil find by Imperial Oil in 1920 at Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories—but it was too far from markets. Smaller discoveries at Turner Valley, southwest of Calgary, provided fuel for nearby areas after 1914. However, until the giant Leduc discovery near Edmonton in 1947, Canada depended on imports for up to 90 percent of crude oil supplies.

Canadian companies concentrated for several decades on finding and developing crude oil resources abroad, mainly in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Many Canadian geologists and engineers learned their trade in tropical jungles. Tanker fleets were a key component of the larger Canadian oil companies.

Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge: Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition.  Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.

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