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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Bulletin


Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology
Vol. 22 (1974), No. 2. (June), Pages 177-197

Oil and Gas Activities in Canada in 1973

J. R. Ower


Canada recorded a substantial increase of exploratory and development drilling in 1973. Altogether 4,745 exploratory and development wells were drilled, representing an increase over 1972 of 995 wells or 26.5 per cent.

There were 199 oil and 568 gas discoveries made, for an exploratory success ratio of 35.7 per cent, while 813 development wells were completed as oil producers and 1,121 as gas producers, for a development success ratio of 79.7 per cent.

A large exploration play in Alberta for shallow Cretaceous gas accounted for the majority of gas discoveries in that province. In Saskatchewan, exploration was concentrated in the heavy-oil area in the west of the province. In British Columbia, exploration was mainly for gas; several significant gas-bearing trends were discovered and are being evaluated by development drilling.

In the Arctic Islands, the widespread exploration program by Panarctic resulted in a further three gas discoveries. The Mackenzie Delta recorded at least three gas discoveries, together with other probable discoveries or extensions to previous discoveries. One probable oil discovery was also made.

In Manitoba a modest exploration drilling program failed to record a discovery while, in Ontario, exploratory drilling declined but development drilling, mainly for gas, increased. Quebec and the Maritimes recorded five exploratory wells, all deep tests.

Offshore on the east coast, a high level of exploratory drilling was maintained, with 30 wells being drilled on the continental shelf. Most were in the Scotian-Grand Banks sectors, but three were drilled on the Labrador shelf. This offshore drilling resulted in one oil well discovery, a second noncommerical discovery subsequently abandoned, and significant but yet unevaluated shows in one of the Labrador shelf wells.

Geophysical activity declined in Alberta and adjacent provinces, but continued strongly in the Territories and Arctic Islands. Marine geophysical activity was also strong on all the east-coast continental-shelf 'sectors' during the summer months.

Production of liquid hydrocarbons, gas and sulphur was at an all-time high, but proven reserves of crude oil and natural-gas liquids continued to show a slow decline in the mature exploration areas of western Canada, for lack of major discoveries. Although proven natural-gas reserves in the mature areas also showed a small decline, there is no doubt that the many 1973 gas discoveries have significantly increased the probable reserves.

Proven reserves from discoveries in the frontier areas cannot be assessed at this time, because of the confidential nature of the data.

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Sedimentary basins of Canada and areas of interest activity: A -- Artic Islands (Frontier), B -- Mackenzie Delta (Frontier), C -- Northern British Columbia (Gas), D -- Southern Alberta (Gas), E -- Western Saskatchewan (Heavy Oil), F -- Scotian Shelf (Offshore), G -- Grand Banks Shelf (Offshore).

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Western Canada -- major oil and gas fields and 1973 significant discoveries.

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