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Well of the Week - Sometimes you are on a roll

The story is often told of how Imperial Oil had drilled 133 dry holes in a row and was ready to give up on western Canada before the Leduc discovery in 1947. But that was the start of an age of discovery in Alberta. One Devonian reef pool after another. Then the Cardium in 1953. The hits kept coming.

Oldale et al., 1994

One particular discovery in 1954 showed that they were on a roll: the Gilwood. A Basement test at 100/01-09-073-18W5/00 that found oil in fluvio-deltaic sands flanking the Peace River Arch (Oldale et al., 1994) was a pleasant surprise. With a cumulative oil production of only 85,222 barrels of oil it wasn’t, in itself, an Earth-shattering discovery. But it did lead to wells such as 100/12-02-073-05W5/00 which has produced almost 6.7 million barrels of oil aided by a waterflood program in the Mitsue oil field. Other pools, such as the Nipisi Gilwood Field are part of the bounty provided by the Gilwood.

The Gilwood is not only another example of the prolific production history from a discovery spawned by the Peace River Arch. But the story of the Gilwood is also the tale of the inventive application of new technology to expand on past discoveries. Last week, I proposed that current technology and new concepts would lead to some discoveries unanticipated by outdated paradigms, and the Gilwood provides an interesting example of innovative thinking.

Dueck and Paauwe, 1994

A start-up named Glen Isle Exploration used image logs to identify prospective channel trends updip of the main Mitsue pool. What new discoveries might we see from fertile minds, new concepts and tools?

Dueck and Paauwe, 1994

All of this activity in and around Lesser Slave Lake had the knock-on effect of providing data for the next group of inventive minds resulting in discoveries such as the recent Clearwater play. More geology equals more oil.

Dueck and Paauwe, 1994


Roger N. Dueck, Eric F.W. Paauwe; The use of borehole imaging techniques in the exploration for stratigraphic traps: an example from the Middle Devonian Gilwood channels in north-central Alberta. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology 1994;; 42 (2): 137–154. doi:

Oldale, H.S., Munday, R. J., Ma, K. and Meijer Drees, N. C. (1994): Devonian Beaverhill Lake Group 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, URL, [04/26/2020].


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