Canadian Oil Fields Now Being Developed
THE VANCOUVER WORLD. Great Wealth of Canadian Oilfields Now Being Developed Deep, deep in the bowels of the earth, lies an amber - colored fluid known as crude oil. Its discovery in Canada dates nigh half n century back when, in the year "1862, on American capitalist noting strong indications of oil in the swamp - springs of East Lambton county, unk a 6mall test - well and found what would seem a vast lake of oil, at a depth of 400 feet. Then commenced Ontario's first great oil boom. From the United States there cime a swarm of men rich alike in cash and capital and a knowledge of how to successfully operate operate for the precious fluid. Then the face of Nature underwent a change. Her swaying woods gave way to tall, ungainly derricks; her peaceful quiet was broken by the "chug - chug" of the drill, driven feverishly day and night, by man, into her treasure house. Oil was the topic. No one had time to talk anything anything else but "oil." A thriving village sprang to life and was named Oil Springs. Later another town was born some five or six miles north of it. They named this one Petrolia. For a few years the American operators continued to pump fortunes from the earth while their less experienced Canadian cousins watched them mainly and learned how. So that when the Fenian Raid occurred in 18GG and the Americans thought it best to cross the border into their own land, the Canadian Canadian had his innings. Another village was born and called Oil City. Day and night new wells were being drilled, and tall derricks erected, and still the vast reservoir deep in the earth 6ent its thousands of barrels of crude petroleum upward daily. It looked as if the hidden lake would never diminish. Strong in this belief, drillers sunk more wells, until mile upon mile as far as the eye could see, there was a forest of derricks. Today they stand, as they did then, many of them grimly silent, some of them pumping feebly, but each of them a memento of the old days of Ontario's Ontario's first oil boom. There are some 2000 wells in the Oil Springs field, said to have an average production of il)UU barrels and comprising comprising some 3000 acres of land. Six miles north of the Oil Springs field, lies the Petrolia field, one of the most noted oil fields in Canada. Canada. It is, in fact, nothing more nor less than a continuation of, the Oil Springs field. Its first well was drilled in the year 1865, and proved a gusher. Immediately other wells were sunk and all were good producers. Canadians, Canadians, mainly, operated the wells, many of whom retired wealthy and gave way to a new generation of operators. Those old, stirring days of Ontario's first oil boom; are full enough of life iucidents to make a book. Oil greenish - yellow, pungent pungent crude oil was the lode - staT that shaped destinies. Fortunes came into Canada, dou bled, trebled, quadrupled themselves, and (dipped back across the border again. Later, the bulldog strain in our own countrymen asserted itself and fortunes were made that stayed in Canada. In that bygone day of fickle prosperity, men counted money in bunches. Even the medium, that impostor of the modern Stone Age, went about with his pockets bulging and could afford a caddy to carry his crotched stick the divining rod whereby, assisted by the spirits, he was able to locate the promising spots for the drillers. He charged a fee in accordance with the times. He bought his chewing tobacco by the box. Shrewd men bought prospecting privileges from land - owners owners owners less shrewd. They sold them to speculators speculators at a snug advance and bought more. By and by the land - owners themselves woke up and there was action lots of it. They got in the game and bought too; the game of buy and sell, the game of hunting yellow - green oil and oily - yellow greenbacks. It was a feverish chase without a single let - up. Lease, lease, re - l?ase without release describes the spirit of the times accurately. And all the time the big field was extending itself until the great derricks stretched farther, than the eye could measure distance. Naturally men grew to look upon the great lake of oil 1500 feet below the earth's surface as inexhaustible. inexhaustible. For them, the golden age had come to stay. They began to dream of great things, greater things even than they were realizing. There was no limit to their possibilities. There would be other towns come to birth, of course. Why not, when such inducements were offered merchants. ' Couldn't they sell their cloth by the bale? Weren't the grocers selling sugar by the barrel and canned goods by the box? Hopeful fouls even went so far as to christen three new towns in conception : "Par - affine," "Benrine," and "Nitro Glycerine." But after all a boom is but a boom and always always has its after effects. There came a day when the wells ceased to produce their usual amount of the fluid. In a sense this was a great disappointment, but largely, it should be stated, one without pecuniary loss. The harvest had been more than bountiful, the nil - belt was below and there must always be oil there and in paying quantities. So that we have in Canada's first industrial history of .. ., 1 1 11 r a V 1 irude on, ine oreaininz epcu m lut - uwiui The Undeveloped Oil Fields of Northern Alberta, near Edmonton Rich Properties Proved by American Canadian Oil Company's Experts Story of First Discoveries in Ontario follows unreasoning pursuance of something half mythical. And in that breathing spell men found themselves and became rational beings. t t 1 THE GREAT PETROLIA FIELD. This field covers an area of over twelve square miles. In the year 1865 its first well was drilled. Today there are over 12,000 wells in the field. Each year these wells produce 500,000 barrels of crude petroleum. The product sells for about $1.65 per barrel. The fluid, in its crude state, varies in color according to its quality. That of the Petrolia fields, and other fields in Ontario, of which we will speak later, is of a dark green color with a yellowish tinge, with a gravity varying varying from 32 to 37 degrees. It has a pungent but not displeasing odor. It contains scarcely any waste element. In refining it gives 45 per cent, illuminating oil and 5 per cent, benzine. benzine. Tli3 remaining parts consist pretty much of paraffine from which is manufactured manufactured the finest grades of wax and lubricating oils. The residue obtained in the operation of the latter is rich in carbon aud is used as a fuel. There are no refineries in the Petrolia field. At one time there were no less than seven, but the Imperial Oil Co. extended a long arm and gripped them, laid pipes to its own monster refinery at Sarnia, and piped the entire product product there. A few years ago, local capitalists established a refinery to compete with the Imperial, but it is an uneven' battle. The wells of this great field are called "shallow wells," meaning that drillers only have to drill a matter of some 400 feet to strike the oi - vein. In other Ontario fields it is necessary necessary to go much deeper, consequently the cost of sinking a well in the latter territories is much greater. It costs .$500 to complete a well in the Pretolia field. The oil - bearing stratum lies at a depth of between 400 and 500 feet below the earth's surface, and by working working night and day operators may complete a well in less than a week. The process of drilling an oil - well is interesting interesting to the onlooker, while that of "shooting" "shooting" a well is something to be remembered. The work of drilling, for the first hundred feet or more, is comparatively easy going, an auger bit being used and capable of boring five feet through the earth before being lifted to be emptied. Steam has supplanted the old horsepower system ofboring, so that it requires requires but one day to drill through the clay to bed rock. Here the real work begins; here the novice learns to know why the drilling drilling expert was born. When the top of the rock is struck, an eight - sided casing of inch pine, eight inches in diameter, is inserted into the hole. This is to prevent caving. When the casing, which is called a conductor, is in place, the "bit" is brought into play. A bar of iron 3C inches long and 3 1 - 2 inches in diameter, tipped with highly - tempered steel capable of biting its way through rock, is lowered, lowered, by means of a rope, pulley and derrick, into the hole. To wear its way through the rock, this sinker - iron, or drill, must be lifted and dropped with the persistency of clockwork. clockwork. This, of course, is done by steam, the driller's work being to cleverly niampulatthe contrivance, attached to the working - beam, so as to give, by a half - turn, the drill a boring as well as a wearing effect. When the "bit" attached ip the bar gets dull, the heavy drill is raised and a new one is attached. One man, by a forge, is kept busy sharpening bits. When necessary to remove the cuttings from the hole, a hollow tube with a valve opening inward at the bottom, is lowered into the well, its weight being sufficient to force the cuttings cuttings into it. The weight of the cuttings closes the valve, after which the tube is hoisted hoisted and emptied. When the driller has passed through the top rock of limestone, a thickness usually of between 40 and 50 feet, he encounters encounters a strata of "soapstone," varying in thickness thickness from 135 to 150 feet; an iron casing 5 5 - 8 inches in diameter is inserted to prevent "caving," soapstone being liable to cave, at times. Below the soapstone is a layer of limestone some 125 feet in thickness, immediately immediately beneath which is the oil - bearing rock. This is drilled through and beyond to a depth of 10 to 20 feet. The well is now completed, except for the shooting. In order to allow the oil to flow more freely into the well, it is necessary to shatter the rock at its bottom. This is done by the lowering and exploding of nitro - glycerine, and is called "shooting" a well. A cylindrical tube, filled with the deadlj - explosive, is lowered into the well and by a cap contrivance exploded. , The force 1 EARLY OPERATIONS IN THE FIELDS. of the concussion is so terrific that a' great area of rock is shattered and a pool of oil is formed at the well's bottom. Frequently, derrick, toolhouse and a considerable extent 8 A Pawtrful 4 - hor Engin and BolUr.SuppIlM th of earth about the well is deluged with the thick green - black fluid, and often if the well be a gusher barrels of crude oil are lost before before the well can be properly capped. Bec - frase not every man can "shoot" a well successfully, and, perhaps, because not every man would care to, if he could, the oilfields have their expert "shooters" as well as their expert tool - dressers and drillers. ' THE TILBURY OIL FIELD. A few years ago, indications of gas along the brooks in Tilbury township, Kent county, led oil speculators to investigate and as a result result we have the already famous Tilbury gas and oil field. Its discovery has been marked by no feverish activity on the part of its promoters, promoters, marred by no rainbow - tinted boom, but, rather has the bringing to light of the field's vast possibilities been marked by the cheerful persistence of men who had confidence. confidence. The wells of the Tilbury field are "deep" wells. In mauy instances they are over 2000 feet deep. The regulation depth is 1400 feet. The average output is twenty barrels a day, a conservative estimate. In this field are a number of natural gas wells with a pressure pressure of 600 pounds to the inch. The city of Chatham now uses the product of one of these wells for heating and lighting purposes and arrangements are now being completed to supply the other towns in Western Kent. The gas is purified before it enters the city and gives a soft, clear light, equal, if not superior, if 2t Powp for Uut American Canadian Company' Borlnga. to artificial gas, and is much more economical. THE UNDEVELOPED OIL FIELDS OF NORTHERN ALBERTA. That the region of Athabasca lying to the northwest of Edmonton has every indication of oil and possesses the marks of becoming a, great oil centre is proved by the following facts, taken from the report of the Geological ' Survey for the year 1808. Tarry or pitchy matter is stated to have been here first found in plowing on the northwest northwest quarter of section 30, township 66, range 25, west of the fourth meridian. Several small excavations were then made and veins or layers of hardened pitch and pitch - saturated saturated saturated sand were found. The pits had, however, however, become filled before the time of my visit, and nothing could be seen' but lumps of pitchy material which had been thrown up in digging them. When Mr. J. B. Tyrell visited the place the pits were still open, and as his report on observations observations then made was not published, the following may be quoted from it ' "On an almost level plain, inclining very gently toward Egg lake, several pits had been dug from three to four feet deep, and in all 200 yards apart in the north and south line. On the side of the most northern pit, a narrow narrow vertical vein of rather hard pitch, in places about an inch wide, could be seen running running through the clay. Another pit 50 feet south of the last had been dug to a depth of 9 feet 6 inches, but at the time had six feet of water in it. A large amount of sand saturated saturated with the tar was lying beside this pit. We baled the water out of this pit when the unstratified material with pebbles was found to extend down to a depth of eight feet, and through it were running many veins of hardened hardened pitch. Below this a course moderately even - grained and apparently horizontally bedded sand is reached. This sand is saturated saturated with tar." EXPERIMENTAL BORINGS IN NORTHERN NORTHERN ALBERTA. The experimental boring operations were initiated with the object of seeking for petroleum petroleum in quantities of commercial importance, at localities not to Iar removed from settlement settlement and means of communication. The inclinations of the existence of perto - leum in the form of enormous deposits of "tar - sands" appearing along the natural outcrop outcrop of the lowest Cretaceous beds of the re - - - 'gion on the Athabasca, fully warranted the experiments entered on. The actual boring operations have in consequence of many unfor - ' seen difficulties met with and the time lost iu consequence of the remoteness of the work, been attended by regrettable delays, and have so far failed to demonstrate the existence of petroleum of economic value in respect to quality and quantity. They have, however, as pointed out in previous reports, demonstrated demonstrated the regularity and the great extent of the probable oil - bearing beds, and have indicated the occurrence of natural gas in an important amount over a large tract of tho Northwest. Some particulars of the attempts here mado are given in Mr. Fraser's report, from which it appears that the practically insuperable obstacle met with was the clotting of the casing casing of the tools with the heavy tarry petroleum, petroleum, or maltha, mixed with sand, which was thrown up by the discharge of gas. It had been hoped that, at a greater depth, and particularly particularly in the Devonian limestone from which the oil originally derived, it might hn found in a more fluid state, but it has proved t.i be impossible to penetrate the "tar sands" at the base of the 'retaccous at this place, and it appears probable that this could only be accomplished by beginning at the surface with a hole of much larger diameter. THE OPERATIONS OF THE AMERICAN - CANADIAN OIL CO. The foregoing geological report was the means which first engaged the consideration of the American - Canadian Oil Company, The experience of this company's experts, who have successfully drilled and found oil in paying paying quantities in different parts of America, led them to believe that the positive indications indications of oil that existed in Alberta justified tho company in securing somo 800 acres of land in the vicinity of the experimental borings, borings, and of installing a modern and well - equipped drilling plant. Profiting by the results results results - of the experimental borings, the American American American - Canadian Oil company's experts' commenced commenced boring with a hole fourteen inches in diameter, diameter, which is four times as large as that of the government borings in 1897 and which obviates the difficulty of gas which cause suspended the experimental operations. The cretaceous formations under which oil is generally found, was entered at a depth of 1100 feet. The boring has now reached a depth of 1300 feet, which is cased and ready for th" resumption of work as soon as spring opens It 13 the firm belief of the experts in charge of the boring that as soon as the cretaceous formation r. pierced oil will be stmck, as the conditions , already met with in boring are identically the same as met with in some of ti c great oil fields of this continent. The Alberta - Canadian Oil Company's lands are hi the center of the oil belt, and they control control 112(1 acres, which lands are immediately adjoining those of the Amerfcan - Canadian Oil Company's soldings. Samples of oil saturated sand and tar taken' fiom the Alberta - Canadian Company's lands may be seen at the offices of Alvo r. Alvens - leben, Hastings street.