Summer is a great time for hiking in the mountains and to reminisce about the history of Foothills exploration in a Petro Ninja – Enlighten Geoscience Well of the Week series on this very elegant facet of our basin’s history.
This week, the wells that started it all: Dingman No. 1 (100/14-06-020-02W5/00) and Royalite No. 4 (100/12-07-020-02W5/00). Excellent examples of a First Generation Foothills Play Type (Newson, 2001). These plays are typified by a single thrust imbricate.
In addition to the excitement of finding oil at Royalite No 4, there was a blowout as the Paleozoic imbricate was penetrated. This must have been something to see since it was 5 years before blowout preventors were patented.
The history of these wells is fascinating and the impact of these discoveries on a much smaller Calgary (population ca. 43,000) is hard to overstate. A replica of the Dingman No 1 rig may be toured at Heritage Park. Readers in and around Calgary can meander around the Turner Valley area including a visit to the Turner Valley Gas Plant National & Provincial Historic Site to get a sense of the history. An interesting film may be watched here.
Newson, A. C., 2001. The future of natural gas exploration in the Foothills of the Western Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Leading Edge. v. 20, no. 1.
Price, R. A., 2000. The Southern Canadian Rockies: Evolution of a Foreland Thrust and Fold