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Home > History of Development > Leduc: Causes and Effects > 1947: Oil Strike! > Oil Strike > Leduc No. 1

Leduc: Causes and Effects

Leduc No. 1

Opening day, Leduc Number 1 discovery well, Leduc, Alberta. The first drill site was Leduc No. 1 in a field on the farm of Mike Turta located 15 kilometres west of Leduc and about 50 kilometres south of Edmonton. The well was ranked a wildcat. No drilling of any kind had taken place within an 80-kilometre radius. Drilling started on November 20, 1946. At the beginning, the crew thought the well was a gas discovery, but there were signs of something more. Past 1,500 metres, the drilling speeded up and the first bit samples showed free oil in the reservoir rock.

As a result of this breakthrough, Imperial Oil decided to bring the well in with some fanfare at 10 o'clock in the morning of February 13, 1947. The oil company invited civic dignitaries, the media and the general public to the well site just south of what is now Devon. The night before the ceremony, however, swabbing equipment broke down and the crew members laboured to repair it all night. By morning no oil flowed and many of the invited guests left.

Page from the Western Examiner Finally, late in the afternoon, the crew were able to get the well to flow. Many local people came to see a spectacular column of smoke and fire beside the derrick as the crew flared the first gas and oil. Alberta mines minister N. E. Tanner turned the valve to start the oil flowing (at an initial rate of about 155 cubic metres per day), and the Canadian oil industry moved into the modern era. Imperial Oil's search for oil finally paid off. By the end of 1947, Imperial Oil and a group of small companies had drilled 147 more wells in the Leduc-Woodbend oilfield. Surprisingly, only 11 were dry.

Leduc No. 1 Leduc No. 1 stopped producing in 1974 after the production of some 317,000 barrels of oil and 9 million cubic metres of natural gas. On November 1, 1989, Esso Resources—the exploration and production arm of Imperial Oil—began producing the field as a gas reservoir.

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