With the pipeline builders now on the last lap, and the final lengths of pipe expected to be laid and welded in place this month, large volumes of Fort Norman Crude Oil have already started on the 600odd mile run from Norman Wells to Whitehorse. U.S. Army Service & Supply chief Lt. General Somervell announced in midDecember that oil had started through the pipeline, which then had about 100 miles to be completed, with builders working from both ends of the line.
This week it was learned that the oil movement announced by General Somervell has been heavy with some eighty thousand barrels of Norman crude being pumped during January from storage tanks in the field, across the five mile wide Mackenzie River, for temporary storage in tanks at Camp Canol on the west bank of the river, and in tanks at pumping stations along the northerly section of the pipeline.
This oil movement will permit delivery of the initial Norman oil to the Whitehorse Refinery very soon after the pipeline construction is completed and, by its clearing of the loaded storage facilities at Norman Wells, has probably already permitted opening up of some of the 32 or more oil wells which have been waiting completion of the pipeline phase of the Cannel Project to go on production, (The potential of these wells was described by U.S. Assistant Secretary for War Patterson in December as upwards of 20,000 bbls per day, The current pipeline, a 4 ½" O.D. line, is capable of delivering about 3,000 bbls per day, which was the original U. S. Army objective).
Meanwhile, drilling operations have been limited to proven area drilling, with Imperial Oil running one rotary rig on Boar Island and another on Goose Island, A third rig is engaged on reworking and deepening operations at wells on the East Bank of the river. The fourth Imperial rig is idle, as are the three rotary rigs.