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Well of the Week - Now you have gone too far

Once again, the Petro Ninja – Enlighten Geoscience Well of the Week celebrates the spirit of exploration.  Sometimes you find a massive field and sometimes, you add to the knowledge base (aka a “science well”).  Even efforts that are, perhaps, a bit misguided deserve a mention.  Such is the case with Duncan Exploration Inc.’s Moyie #1 well.

Whether it is the first oil well in western Canada or a gas well in one of western Canada’s largest gas fields, companies have experienced a lot of success drilling through or adjacent to the Precambrian sediments carried by the Lewis Thrust.  So, it is not surprising to see an intrepid explorer testing a location beneath a Precambrian overthrust.  But perhaps Duncan Exploration went a bit too far west by drilling (200/D-008-C/082-G-05/00) just south of Moyie Lake in the Purcell area of British Columbia.  Maybe they were taking advantage of some long-forgotten exploration incentives.  Maybe they were unaware of the work of Bally et al. (1966).

Regardless of their rationale for drilling they get full marks for persevering to a total depth of 3,476m in the Precambrian Aldridge formation, running a full log suite and even a few drillstem tests.  But that does not change the fact that they drilled almost 3,500 m of metasedimentary rocks and gabbros.  There was no reservoir.  No pay.  But there is a particularly useful control point for the authors of the Structural Geology chapter of Atlas 2027.

Figure 1.  Geological map of southeastern BC and southwestern AB.  Moyie #1 well is in the southwest corner along the Moyie Anticline. (after Ainsworth (2009)).


Figure 2. Seismic profile across the Moyie #1 location. Ainsworth (2009).

All that is left now is the old lease which has been repurposed as a community baseball field named Ellis Park.  If you are driving along Highway 3 to enjoy the West Kootenays and would like to take a look, it is a short detour off the highway.


Figure 3.  Location map of the Duncan Exploration Moyie #1 well. (Courtesy of Petro Ninja).


Figure 4.  Your correspondent standing atop the Moyie #1 location.  As located with the assistance of Flavia the Wonder Dog (and GPS).


Structure of the Moyie Anticline delineated on a grid of reflection seismic profiles in southeastern British Columbia.  Ainsworth, H. L., 2009. M. Sc. Thesis, University of Calgary.  [accessed 2024-03-11]

Bally, A.W., Gordy, P.L., and Stewart, G.A. 1966. Structure, seismic data and orogenic evolution of the southern Canadian Rockies. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v. 14, p. 337-381.


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