The presence of hydrocarbons onshore western Newfoundland was recognized in the early 1800s in the form of oil and gas seeps, bituminous residues and oil shale. The first well was drilled in the 1860s with approximately 60 wells defining this early history up to the 1960s. Most of these were shallow wells concentrated very close together (27 near Parsons Pond and 13 at Shoal Point) near known showings.
Nalco 65-1 (drilled in 1965) was the deepest of these early wells. Drilled in the Parsons Pond – St. Paul’s Inlet area, it encountered shows of oil and gas in relatively tight formation. Unfortunately the well was abandoned at 1302 metres after it spewed gas and caved in. While this and the other shallow wells did test up to 700 metres of sedimentary strata in concentrated areas, they failed to penetrate a major thrust fault in the region or evaluate the full potential of Cambro-Ordovician sedimentary sequences known to exceed 3000 metres in depth.