Akamina #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.

Useable 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 hole.

It is 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.

23 wells were drilled in the Flathead in the 1907 – 1930 period.

Drilling in The SouthEast Corner of British Columbia

The first 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.