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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

Oil Boom In Vermilion

The Second World War was raging, and many people were worried about their loved ones, but there was also good news in the area thanks to an oil boom.

In October 1943, it was reported that Cannar Oils, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway, had drilled on 640 acres in the area and had 20 wells operated.

Of those wells, 10 were producing for the CNR. The fuel oil that was being extracted from the ground would be used on the locomotives of the railway.

Those wells were producing 350 barrels per day. The output of the wells was being handled completely by the Vermilion Refinery Company’s treating plant at Borradaile.

The success of CNR in that area was attracting others to the area who were hoping to get some of the oil.

Among oil companies, the Vermilion oilfield was known for being a shallow field with oil-producing sands located at 1,800 to 1,900 feet.

The drilling in the field was recommended by J.W. Penny, who was a Dominion government geologist who expected there would be success. Turns out, he was right.

Of course, since there was a war going on, a lot of oil was going towards the war effort. Finding an oil field that produced at the capacity of the Vermilion oil field was very important for companies like Canadian Northern Railway. The oil could be used to build up the reserves of fuel oil for the western services of the railway industry.

With the wells producing 350 barrels per day, that amounted to 127,770 barrels per year. That was 10 per cent of what the railway needed for its fuel needs in a year.

Sharing Canadian history through social media, history columns and on my podcast is what I do for a living. Please consider supporting that by donating at (click Donate).

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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