Drilling For Oil

Athabasca's first Gas Well
Oil drilling rig at Athabasca Landing
Provincial Archives of Alberta, B2583.

On Saturday, June 9, we started from Calling river at 8 a.m., and at 4 p.m. tied up at the upper end of Pelican rapids, having now made 120 miles from our starting point.

Near the water's edge on the north side of the Athabaska and at the upper end of Pelican rapids the Dominion government sunk a well two or three years ago. At a depth of some 837 feet, the last 87 feet being through tar sands, gas was struck, which prevented further sinking. From this well a strong current of gas and water issues. The gas was on fire at the time of our visit. The flame was about 15 feet high above the pipe, and the noise could be heard for perhaps half a mile distant. When first struck it could be heard several miles, and the flame was much larger.

The Dominion government, in prospecting for oil a few years ago, also put down a hole at Victoria, Alberta, hoping to strike oil on reaching the tar sands at an estimated depth of 2,100 feet. At 1,840 feet the casing became wedged and the work was stopped. Another attempt was made at Athabaska landing, with a similar result, the casing becoming wedged at 1,770 feet, within 30 feet of the calculated depth of the tar sands, where oil probably exists in considerable quantities. (Report of the Superintendent of Forestry, 23-24.)

Oil drilling rig at Athabasca Landing
Pelican settlement and gas well
Gas well on the Athabasca River
Article On Oil Findings
Article on oil near Athabasca
Article on the great rush for oil
Pelican Settlement

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