Leduc No. 1
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
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.
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
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
Resourcesthe exploration and production arm of Imperial Oilbegan producing the
field as a gas reservoir.