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Geological Milestones

1000 B.C. China: Chinese drill for natural gas and transport by bamboo pipeline.
1500 A.D. Trinidad: sea captains use pitch to caulk ships.
1820 Cape Breton Island: school children at Lake Ainslie amused themselves by driving stakes into the ground, withdrawing them, then firing the escaping gas.
1840 Nova Scotia: Dr. Abraham Gesner experiments with production of lamp fuel from coal and asphalt.
1852 Ontario: attempts made to use tar beds commercially to seal ships and build roads.
1854 New York: Gesner produces kerosene commercially from petroleum.
1854 Ontario: world's first oil company incorporated.
1858 Ontario: James Miller Williams first in North America to drill deliberately and successfully for oil to a depth of 15 m.
1859 United States: Edwin Drake finds oil in Pennsylvania at about 21 m.
1859 New Brunswick: oil explorationist discovered natural gas seep near Moncton; this was the Dover field.
1860 Ontario: Williams's company becomes Canadian Oil Company with five wells producing a total of about 20 barrels per day.
1860 United States: oil production over 250,000 barrels/year (over 700 barrels/day).
1863 Ontario: thirty refineries operating in the province.
1864 Ontario: price of oil at $4 a barrel.
1865 Ontario: demand for oil increases - oil sells at $11 per barrel.
1867 Ontario: more oil produced than is needed - oil sells at $0.50 a barrel.
1870 Alberta: presence of oil and natural gas reported southwest of Calgary.
1873 Ontario: export of Canadian oil to United States stops because of Pennsylvania oil production.
1880 Ontario: Imperial Oil Ltd. founded and 100% Canadian owned.
1883 Alberta: natural gas found near Medicine Hat.
1889 Ontario: first producing natural gas well in Essex County.
1893 Canada: oil used to produce naphtha, lubricating oils, waxes, fuel oils, asphalt, and kerosene
1894 Ontario: production of Ontario oil peaks at less than 900,000 barrels a year.
1898 Canada: first automobile sold; gasoline production from oil begins.
1898 Canada: eastern Canada imports oil from other countries to meet domestic demand.
1900 Alberta: Medicine Hat using natural gas for perpetual street lighting (gas burning night and day to save money).
1902 Alberta: western Canada's first producing oil well at Waterton.
1909 New Brunswick: first successful natural gas well at Stoney Creek near Moncton.
1909 Alberta: Canadian Pacific Railway commercially develops natural gas near Medicine Hat.
1909 Alberta: Calgary uses natural gas for street lighting and brewery.
1912 New Brunswick: natural gas piped from Stoney Creek to Moncton.
1914 Alberta: discovery of natural gas and oil condensate at Turner Valley (at a depth of 1200 m); more than 500 oil companies formed (most go bankrupt).
1920 Northwest Territories: oil found at Norman Wells but too far to transport economically.
1936 Alberta: deeper well (2500 m) at Turner Valley discovers crude oil.
1940 World: World War II increases demand for oil; more exploration in Canada and United States.
1946 Canada: Canada produces 20,000 barrels of oil a day and imports 200,000 barrels a day (oil used in Canada is 90% imported).
1947 Alberta: major oil find in Leduc.
1951 British Columbia: natural gas discovered at Fort St. John.
1965 Alberta: major oil discovery at Rainbow Lake.
1966 First exploration wells drilled in offshore eastern Canada: Tors Cove D-52 and Grand Falls H-09.
1967 British Columbia: the first of a series of exploratory offshore wells is drilled on the West Coast; no commercial quantities of oil and gas were found.
1967 Alberta: first integrated oil sands plant (Suncor Inc. at Ft. McMurray) ready for commercial production.
1967 The first well drilled on Sable Island; encountered shows of oil and natural gas.
1969 Manitoba: first offshore well drilled in Hudson Bay; later abandoned as dry.
1971 First well drilled on the Labrador Shelf.
1971 Significant oil and natural gas discovery in Sable Island E-48.
1973 First Middle East oil crisis; OPEC assumes unilateral control over pricing of its oil, quadrupling the price from October 1973 to January 1974 (from $2.80 (U.S.)/bbl to $10.84 (U.S.)/bbl.
1978 Alberta: operation begins at the Syncrude Canada Ltd. synthetic crude oil plant at Ft. McMurray.
1979 Newfoundland: Hibernia, Canada's largest offshore oil field is discovered off the East Coast.
1979 Nova Scotia: significant natural gas field, Venture, discovered near Sable Island, 200 km off the coast of Nova Scotia.
1980 Canada: introduction of the National Energy Program; federal government policy designed to increase Canadian self-sufficiency, increase Canadian ownership and control of the industry.
1982 The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank during a severe winter storm on February 15th. There were no survivors.
1985 February 11, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador signed an agreement on the management and revenue sharing of offshore oil and natural gas; it is called the Atlantic Accord.
1985 Northwest Territories: completion of the 868 km Norman Wells Pipeline; major step in bringing vast northern resources to market.
1985 Northwest Territories: first oil shipment from the Arctic.
1986 World oil prices fall from $34 (U.S.)/bbl in 1982 to $10 (U.S.)/bbl in March, 1986; the price of natural gas was deregulated by the Federal Government in November, 1986.
1986 Hibernia agreement signed by Chevron, Gulf, Mobil and Petro- Canada.
1986 August 26, the Government of Canada and the government of Nova Scotia sign the Canada-Nova Scotia Accord; this covers the management and revenue sharing of oil and natural gas, offshore Nova Scotia.
1990 Appointment of chairperson and members to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB).
1990 October. Began construction of the Bull Arm, Trinity Bay, Nfld. fabrication site for the Hibernia gravity base structure (GBS) and assembly of the topside facilities.
1992 November. Work began on construction of the Hibernia GBS.
1992 LASMO Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Resources given approval to proceed with oil production from the Cohasset-Panuke project. Production officially began June 5th from the Panuke Field and continued through December 18th. During this first season 3.6 million barrels of oil were produced .
1992 Stoney Creek field in New Brunswick ceases production.
1993 New Hibernia agreement signed by the Federal Government, Chevron, Mobil, Murphy and Petro-Canada.
1993 Number of wells drilled as of December, 1992.
New Brunswick: onshore 105 ; offshore 2
Prince Edward Island:onshore 7 ; offshore 6
Nova Scotia: onshore 99 ; offshore 131
Newfoundland: onshore 60 ; offshore 140
1995 Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Project (M&NP) formed. Total project costs estimated at $3 billion.
1995 Hunt Oil and PanCanadian discover oil at Port au Port #2, western Newfoundland.
1996 January 1. PanCanadian Petroleum Limited Acquire all of LASMO Nova Scotia's interest in the Cohasset- Panuke Project.
1996 Royalties agreement with SOEP and Nova scotia government.
1996 August. Petro-Canada submitted its development plan for the Terra Nova Project on the Grand Banks.
1996 October 1, SOEP opens office in Halifax.
1997 SOEP awards contract for fabrication of Sable topsides facility.
1997 Work starts on the #4.5 billion Terra Nova Project eastern Grand Banks. Petro-Canada is the operator. Oil production is expected to start in 2000 at a average rate of 115,000 barrels a day.
1997 June. The 600,000 tonne Hibernia production platform was successfully postioned on the site, over the Hibernia fields, after a 500 km tow-out from the Bull Arm construction site in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland.
1997 Corridor Resources and Dobrana Resources suspended their Green Gables #2 well on P.E.I after encountering only small quantities of natural gas.
1997 November 17. Production from the $5.8 billion Hibernia project at a initial rate of 20,000 barrels per day. Peak rate is estimated to be 180,000 b/d.
1997 December. All government and regulatory approvals granted to SOEP.
1998 Gulf Canada is granted exploration rights to the French corridor on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland south of the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Siesmic exploration program completed.
1998 Mobil Oil, Shell and Imperial Oil sign Scotian Shelf agreement.
1998 Corridor Resources shipped the drilling rig Ralex No. 4 to Anticosti Is. to drill the first of a four well exploratory program. These will be the first wells drilled on the island since the 1960's.

    Last Modified: 2004-12-10