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Manitoba from the Air
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Oil Wells Near Virden


Oil production in Manitoba is limited to the southwest of the province where eleven designated oil fields are located.[i] “In December 1992, of 1,547 wells capable of production, 1,387 wells were actually producing oil in Manitoba…wells in the Virden, Waskada and Daly fields accounted for 40 percent, 24 percent, and 19 percent respectively of Manitoba’s total production.”[ii] Virden is regarded as Manitoba’s “oil capital,” the depth to producing formations in the area being 600 m.

Despite the large number of wells they have little impact on the natural environment. The oil pumps take up only a few square metres of land with slightly more being used where oil and saltwater storage tanks are located nearby.[iii] The surrounding land can be used for agriculture. Pumps are small enough that they are scarcely visible on air photos. However, a few are indicated 1; pipelines running between wellheads 2 often best pick them out.

The photo shows the town of Virden 3 located mainly in section 22, township 10, range 26WI. Scallion Creek 4 flows through the town to join Bosshill Creek 5 to the south which then joins Gopher Creek 6, which is in turn a right bank tributary of the Assiniboine River 7.

The CP railway line 8 runs southeast/northwest through Virden before splitting in the north 9. Roads in the town are parallel to, and at right angles, to the railway. The Trans-Canada Highway 10 is twinned 11 as it bypasses Virden to the north. PR 259 12, which crosses the Assiniboine River north of town, eventually joins the Trans-Canada Highway off the photo to the west.

Other features to note are the Virden airfield with grassed runways 13 and a terminal building 14; a drive-in cinema northeast of town 15; and a racetrack 16 with an associated arena 17 and curling rink 18 northwest of it.



[i] Young, H. R. “Mining and Extractive Industries in Manitoba,” in Welsted, Everitt and Stadel, op. cit. 1996, figure 16.12, 246.

[ii] Young, H. R. op. cit. 1996, 246-247.

[iii] Young, H. R. op. cit. 1996, figures 16.17a and 16.17b, 248.

Figure 15.1

Oil Wells Near Virden