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  • Cokel Forestry

ICPP Team Tours the Historic Turner Valley Gas Plant

A tour of the Turner Valley Gas Plant, a provincial historic resource and a national historic site, allowed one of the ICPP teams to understand more about the discovery of gas in the area over 100 years ago and connect it to the current pipeline construction.

In 1911, a chance observation of gas surfacing near the banks of the Sheep River in Turner Valley resulted in the discovery of natural gas; in 1914 a well was drilled, which eventually became the site of the Turner Valley gas plant, Alberta’s first natural gas plant. This kickstarted the modern era of oil and gas exploration and processing. It wasn’t until 1921 that gas from the site flowed through a pipeline built by Royalite, a subsidiary of Imperial Oil. The line, going from Turner Valley to Okotoks, was connected to an existing line owned by Canadian Western Natural Gas and ran all the way to Calgary. The Turner Valley Gas plant was in operation until 1985 and is the most significant surviving resource associated with the development Turner Valley Oilfield.

Chad Daniels, an ICPP participant states, “As part of my training and development plan and my interest in land relations, I wanted to gain knowledge of the land and its history; it was great to learn the history of the plant, the significance to the area, the rich culture and its surroundings.”

A Tsuut’ina women at the water pump at the Turner Valley oil well, circa 1914. Treaty 7 was signed in 1877. The lands where these women stood was originally their traditional lands, but were settled and developed by Europeans. Indigenous people noticed natural gas seepages in the area as did cowboys and settlers.

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