#1 was the first oil well drilled in BC. This was done in
1907 by the Royal Canadian Oil Company. It was drilled by
cable tools (some of which are on display at the Fernie Derrick
site) to a depth of 1200 feet. Some tools were then lost at
the bottom of the hole and the well was abandoned.
parts of the rig were then moved to Akamina #2 in 1908. This
was drilled to 600 feet and again tools were lost down the
from this rig that the metal components were salvaged by Dave
Yager in 1984 and used to reconstruct the present rig at the
east entrance to Fernie.
were drilled in the Flathead in the 1907 1930 period.
in The SouthEast Corner of British Columbia
challenge the companies would encounter is getting their equipment
to the selected well site. At the time there was not much
for access roads to these remote locations and the majority
of travel was done on foot or by horseback down a narrow trail.
Crews would work exceptionally long hours breaking and widening
trails in order to accommodate a wagon load of equipment.
One of the important items they had to haul into the site
was a steam boiler. An important thing to remember is that
all of the steam boilers require water & this is why all
of the oil & gas developments during this historical period
were drilled near a river or other source of water. The boilers
were fired by wood cut from the surrounding area and used
to generate steam which in turn would drive the piston engine
providing rotary power to the saw mill. Their next priority
would be to set up a portable saw mill that would be used
to cut logs from the surrounding forest into timbers. These
timbers and boards would be used to construct bunk houses
for the crews, buildings for equipment and most importantly,
the construction of the drilling rig. This was a labour intense
task taken on by the adventurous and hard working crews of
that era. Once drilling was completed or the sites were abandoned
the companies would generally leave the wood constructed derricks
standing as it was easier to build a new one than to take
the old one apart and move it to a new location. There are
several well locations within the Flathead Valley of BC that
hold many untold hardships and lost dreams.