Alberta's economy was stagnant despite its agricultural and natural resources
sectors. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, various oil companies tried
unsuccessfully to find a replacement for the declining Turner Valley reserves.
located south of Calgary, was the largest oil field in the country, but it was
no longer meeting the needs of the western provinces. Oil companies, such as
Shell Oil, had contributed $11 million into the search for more oil, but all they
got was one natural gas well at Jumping Pound, west of Calgary.
Imperial Oil had
drilled 133 consecutive dry wells in search of oil in Alberta and Saskatchewan
during a 27-year period and was ready to give up. In 1946, the company decided
on one last drilling projecta last chanceat nearby Leduc, south of Edmonton.
The wells would be known as "wildcats"exploratory wells drilled in
search of new fields.