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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Natural Gas Discovery (1866)

North America's first commercial crude oil well was completed in 1858 in Oil Springs, Ontario, when James Miller Williams struck oil. The search for oil was underway in Canada and the area became a place of sudden wealth, similar to the Klondike gold rush. With increased activity, deeper drilling produced wells with initial flows of about 5,000 barrels per day. Natural gas was discovered in 1866. In 1890, natural gas wells were drilled at Niagara Falls, Ontario and exported to New York. The province’s first commercial natural gas well was drilled in Essex County near Leamington in 1889. Natural gas was also commercially produced from under the bed of Lake Erie as early as 1913. Since then, many more crude oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in Ontario. It is estimated that more than 50,000 wells have been drilled in Ontario.


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