This is the second article in a series describing how Resource Plays (basin-wide plays in which hydrocarbons are the continuous phase) have often driven development throughout the history of the Canadian Oil and Gas industry. A link to the previous article is provided at the bottom of the post.
Resource Play Type: Mudrock Oil (Second White Specks)
Discovery Well UWI: 100/14-29-001-30W4/00 Lineham No. 1 (based on information from First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site)
Drilling/Completion Technology: Pre-Conventional (Cable Tool)/ Open Hole
As described in Smith (2010), the drilling operation took a year to reach a total depth of 427 m. Not surprising when you look at this photograph of the state-of-the-art cable tool rig.
The well had oil shows throughout with production beginning at a reputed 300 BOPD. Those details are lost to history. But there was never any real confusion as to the source of the oil. Over a decade prior to the well spud, Dr. A. R. C. Selwyn, Director of the Geological Survey of Canada predicted that the oil seeping from outcrops in the area came from Cretaceous shales, not the overlying hard siliceous stromatolites of the Precambrian Lewis Group.
Given that the well is from 1902, the well file is short on petrophysical logs or other details beyond the well cuttings. But check out this 2WS well over 500 km to the northeast. This modest beginning in Waterton was the entrée to a massive resource play that has yet to be fully tapped.
(I would like to thank Kirk Osadetz for kindly providing advice and references on the Second White Specks oil source at Oil City.).
Allan, J. and Creaney, S., 1991. Oil Families of the Western Canada Basin. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, Vol. 39 (1991), No. 2. (June), Pages 107-122.
Link, T, 1932. Oil Seepages in Belt Series of Rocky Mountains Near International Boundary. v. 16, no. 8, p. 786- 796.
Hume, G. S. 1964. Fault Structures in the Foothills and Eastern Rocky Mountains of Southern Alberta. Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists. Vol. 5 (1957), No. 1. (January), Pages 11-11.
Smith, T., 2010. Western Canada’s First Oil Discovery. GEO ExPro. V. 7, no. 4. [https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2010/04/western-canada-s-first-oil-discovery], accessed January 27, 2021.