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Alberta - February 13, 2017
Leduc No. 1 well site on February 13, 1947. Credit: Provincial Archives of Alberta, Harry Pollard Collection P2733

On a Monday, 70 years ago, an oilfield crew struck black gold in a farm field south of Devon, Alberta.

It was a happy accident: the Leduc No. 1 well site was thought to be a “dry hole” when Imperial Oil’s crew drilled down on February 13, 1947.

On that afternoon, light crude oil gushed from the hole to the delight of hundreds of spectators. The event ignited an oil rush and confirmed the importance of oil and gas in the province. Leduc No. 1 produced an estimated 317 000 barrels of oil and 323 million cubic feet of natural gas before it was decommissioned in 1974.

Alberta Oil and Gas Celebration Day

To mark this historic event, on Monday the Government of Alberta declared February 13 Alberta Oil and Gas Celebration Day.

“Recognizing the importance of the discovery of Leduc No. 1 is key in preserving our history. Celebrating our past will help us build a stronger future, and we appreciate everyone involved for helping make it happen,” said Tim Hawkins, president of the Leduc/Devon Oilfield Historical Society.

Hawkins celebrated the day alongside Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, who recognized its importance at the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre. They were joined by Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson and president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, among others.

The discovery of Leduc No. 1 was the first but certainly not the last time an oil strike drew eyes and pocketbooks to Alberta’s resources. The unforgettable Atlantic No. 3 blowout introduced foreign investors to the oil-rich province.

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