In 1946, Imperial Oil commissioned a team of seismologists to survey Central Alberta. The results were comparable to data gathered near Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories, which encouraged Imperial Oil to drill an exploratory well near the hamlet of Leduc. It was believed that the region belonged to an oil-bearing, Devonian formation, thus on November 20th, 1946, after drilling 133 dry wells, Hunter and his thirty-man crew began drilling the Leduc No.1 exploratory well. Within months, core samples caught the attention of Imperial Oil executives, as they indicated that the team was nearing an oil discovery. In January 1947, Leduc No.1 struck oil. The team drilled into a layer of wet gas and rock laced with oil, before stopping at a depth of 5,066 ft. On the 13th of February, Hunter and his team brought the well into production.
February 13th, 1947 was a cold day. Hundreds of locals showed up to witness the making of history: teachers drove out with buses full of schoolkids, local farmers and politicians, journalists and government officials arrived excitedly. The event proved anticlimactic, however, as equipment failed and froze. People waited outside. Some grew impatient and left, so by 3:55 pm, when the flare line was lit, many observers had left the premises. Nevertheless, Leduc No.1 changed the course of Alberta’s economic future. The well signified prosperity and is the reason the Canadian Energy Museum exists today. We continue to celebrate Canada’s relationship with energy, past, present and future.