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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Crew at first oil well at Verdun, Manitoba. 1950s.The oil industry in Manitoba began with exploration after the Second World War in the southwest section of the province. The first discovery was in 1951, and drilling continues to this day. Exploration of the Hudson Bay Lowlands also indicated reservoirs of oil and gas. In the early 1980s, an offshore drilling operation was to commence in Hudson’s Bay itself but yielded no results.

Before 1980, oil was discovered in the Mississippian Lodgepole and Mission Canyon formations and currently produces over 70 percent of Manitoba’s oil and gas. This led to a boom in oil and natural gas exploration into many formations such as the Mississippian Bakken Formation in the Daly area.

The boom also created many petroleum companies. In 1980, Tundra Oil and Gas Limited were formed by James Richardson and Sons of Winnipeg, who since the 1850s were a major company in Manitoba’s economic development. The company began with a focus on light oil production in Manitoba. Tundra currently operates more than 385 producing oil wells in the Williston Basin. In total there are approximately 1,710 producing oil wells in Manitoba. The future of Manitoba’s petroleum industry is promising with 110 wells begun by Tundra in 2004.


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