History Comes to Life
No one was expecting history to be made when, on a chilly day November 1946, Leduc #1 was “spudded-in” on a farm belonging to Mike Turta. Most members of the drilling crew expected the well would turn out to be yet another dry hole, and there was good reason for their pessimism.
Imperial Oil had a dismal success record–they had drilled 133 dry holes in a row, and the company was about to give up. The company urgently needed to discover new sources of crude oil if its refineries were to operate profitably, but it could not afford to continue pouring money into dry holes.
In fact, Imperial’s directors were so disappointed with the company’s lack of exploration success that they were giving serious consideration to adopting a scheme for manufacturing synthetic gasoline from natural gas.
Imperial Oil had spent over 23 million dollars and most of the board members were so disappointed with the lack of success that they barely listened to their chief geologist, Ted Link, who enthusiastically supported more drilling near Leduc. After hours of debate, the board finally gave in and agreed to ‘one more hole.’
Only the geologists thought there was a chance. But the drilling of Leduc #1 even surprised them with the volume of clear, light crude oil that erupted from the hole on February 13, 1947. The well was a hit — a true success that changed Alberta forever.
In the years since the discovery at Leduc #1, oil has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives – from the clothes we wear to the cars we drive. A visit to Leduc #1 will take you through the 365 million years of history and technology that created the world we live in today.