top of page

Well of the Week

February 21, 2021 Petro Ninja - Enlighten Geoscience WotW: 100/04-16-048-08W5/00

This is the sixth Well of the Week post in a series describing how Resource Plays (basin-wide plays in which hydrocarbons are the continuous phase) have often driven development throughout the history of the Canadian oil and gas industry. Links to the previous posts are provided at the bottom of the post.

Resource Play: Pembina Cardium Discovery Well UWI: 100/04-16-048-08W5/00 Drilling/Completion Technology: Conventional Rotary/Perforation and Fractured

In 1947, Imperial Oil drilled Leduc No. 1 and kicked off the modern Canadian Oil and Gas industry. Ten years later, after a chance to fully come to grips with this Devonian reef play, the Alberta Association of Petroleum Geologists (forbearer of the current CSPG) held a symposium on not the Leduc, but on a Cretaceous sandstone! But not just any sandstone. This conference was all about the Cardium. In 1953, Socony - Mobil drilled Socony Seaboard No. 1, the Pembina Cardium discovery well (100/04-16-048-08W6/00). And of all the Resource Plays we have reviewed so far, this is the first to be drilled with conventional rotary table drilling as opposed to a cable tool rig.

Nielsen et al., 1957

Although the pay section is a lot thinner than the Leduc and Nisku, it is shallower, and as a Resource Play more widespread and pervasively hydrocarbon saturated and over pressured.

Nielsen et al., 1957

As a result, the Cardium stacks up well to the Nisku - Leduc Giants with regards the level of established initial reserves. The Cardium represents 10.8 % of the WCSB oil and 2.4% of the WCSB gas endowment versus 23.8% and 9.1% in the Nisku/Leduc (Hay, 1994).

As with other Resource Plays, the Cardium wells display long-lived, low decline production profiles as shown in the 4-16 production plot, which covers nearly 60 years.

Chart courtesy of Subsurface Dynamics

The Cardium was not the first oil well or the first Resource Play in western Canada. But it was the first of many to be developed on a massive scale. We will focus on these plays in upcoming posts.


A.R. Nielsen, F.R. Michaelis, H.K. Roessingh and W.D. MacDonald. Cardium Symposium. Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 5 (1957), No. 4.

P.W. Hay, 1994. Chapter 32 - Oil and Gas Resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; in Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, G.D. Mossop and I. Shetsen (comp.), Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Alberta Research Council.

Previous Posts

February 6, 2021 Petro Ninja - Enlighten Geoscience WotW: Another Oil Resource Play: January 16, 2021 WotW - Historical Drivers of the WCSB Industry: Introduction: January 23, 2021 WotW - First Gas Well in Western Canada: January 29, 2021 WotW - First Oil Well in Western Canada:


Recent Posts
bottom of page