Fracking at least 100 Years Old in Alberta

Fracking at least 100 Years Old in Alberta by David Finch, December 4, 2013, Calgary Herald
“Nitro shooting” enhanced production at the Dingman No. 1 Discovery Well in 1914. They called it “shooting” 100 years ago – the process of opening up the geological formations to entice the oil to flow from the ground. Today it’s called fracking – short for hydraulic fracturing. … “A charge of 100 quarts of nitro-glycerine, sufficiently large to blow the Hudson’s Bay building into ‘kingdom come’ is to be planted at the bottom of the well,” reported the Calgary Herald’s fierce competitor, the Morning Albertan, on May 23, 1914. “When it is ignited the strata from which the oil flows will be rent asunder and fractured in every direction.”

Though driller Martin Hovis was guarded in his assessment of the results of the shooting, the Albertan was not. “…a gusher is not an improbability.” Hovis did allow the reporter to believe that “this was a freak well, beyond the ken of the geologist, and that anything might happen.” Fearing a blowout, company managers capped the well. Hovis then described the fracking sequence. First 100 quarts of nitro was lowered into the well. Then a firing head and “several ordinary gun caps.” Finally, the exciting part. “The ‘go-devil’ weighs about 15 pounds.” This is dropped free down the open hole.

“It strikes the gun caps half a mile down with a terrific force. The explosion follows, and the bowels of the earth are rent and torn and fissured in many directions.”

Oil begins to flow. “Then follow the dividends.” [Emphasis added]

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