was the first resource that the ranchers of the
turner valley mined, using it in stoves and heaters.
William S. Herron moved from Ontario to Alberta
bought an acreage near Okotoks. He noticed gasses coming from the banks
in the Sheep River area. Herron
believed that oil would also be preset. He bought
the farm, acquired its mineral rights, and formed
Calgary Petroleum Products. Herron relied on his
investors for financing the well, such as oilman
Archibald W. Dingman, lawyers James A. Lougheed, R.B.
Bennet and rancher A.E. Cross. The Turner Valley gas
plant, constructed in 1913, was the first petroleum
production facility in western Canada.
In May 1914 they struck
wet gas and oil at the Dingman well. News of the
find hit Calgary like a bombshell and a horde of new
exploration companies were formed. The excitement
was so great that within one twenty-four hour period
promoters formed more than 500 oil companies. Turner
Valley became the cornerstone of Alberta's early oil
and gas industry and became the training ground for
the industry as we know it today. A down-dip crude
“discovery” in 1936 was significant, making the only
commercial field at the time. By 1946, the levels
dropped and new discoveries in Alberta took centre
stage. However, Turner Valley achieved a number of
"firsts" in Canadian gas processing and served as a
centre for the diffusion of expertise for the oil
and gas industry in Canada and around the world.
Turner Valley and the $50-Billion Hangover
The Turner Valley oil field was small by industry standards, producing just under 66,000 barrels of oil over a ten year period, but its discovery was a critical stage in the evolution of Canadian, and specifically Albertan petroleum enterprise. In this excerpt from the JuneWarren publication, The Great Canadian Oil Patch: The Petroleum Era from Birth to Peak, author Earle Gray recounts the excitement that followed the discovery of oil in Turner Valley. Read more…