Canada, it’s the second-largest country in the world, and one of the most beautiful. Its pristine landscape was featured in The Revenant, which filmed in Alberta for a couple months.
Alberta is gorgeous, but did you know it’s been the hotspot for Canadian oil activity for centuries? In fact, the first time Canada’s bitumen deposits were mentioned (that we know of) was 1719, when a York Factory journal mentioned a Cree Indian who brought an oil sand sample to the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Today the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta is the world’s largest known crude oil resource–dwarfing the reserves of the Middle East.
The first actual well was drilled in Pelican Portage, Alberta in the 1890’s. Upon drilling, the well blew all the drilling equipment out of the earth at an incredible rate. What actually happened was the team hit a high-pressure gas zone, which nobody could cap for decades. The roar of the gas escaping the earth could be heard for three miles in any direction.
This proved that Alberta oil plays weren’t something to take lightly.
In 1930, a couple men founded the Fort McMurray plant, which developed a successful process for separating oil from the sands. A few years later, in 1962, Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited started construction of a plant near Fort McMurray that could sift through 10,000 cubic metres of oil sands per day. Due to financial difficulties, an entity called Sun Oil Company (now known as Suncor) picked up the slack and invested millions back into the plant.
This plant played a major part in blazing the trail to profitable and efficient refining of oil sands in the Alberta region.
Today the Athabasca Oil Sands contain 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen and remains one of the biggest oil and gas plays in the entire world.
Featured image: circleofblue.org