The history of the petroleum industry in Canada
arose in parallel with that of the United States
. Because of Canada's unique geography
and patterns of settlement
, however, it developed in different ways. The evolution of the petroleum
sector has been a key factor in the history of Canada
, and helps illustrate how the country became quite distinct from her neighbour to the south.
Although the conventional oil and gas industry in western Canada is mature, the country's Arctic and offshore petroleum resources are mostly in early stages of exploration and development. Canada became a natural gas-producing giant in the late 1950s and is second, after Russia, in exports; the country also is home to the world's largest natural gas liquids extraction facilities. The industry started constructing its vast pipeline networks in the 1950s, thus beginning to develop domestic and international markets in a big way. Despite billions of dollars of investment, her bitumen - especially within the Athabasca oil sands - is still only a partially exploited resource. By 2025 this and other unconventional oil resources - the northern and offshore frontiers and heavy crude oil resources in the West - could place Canada in the top ranks among the world's oil producing and exporting nations. In a 2004 reassessment of global resources, America's EIA put Canadian oil reserves second; only Saudi Arabia has greater proved reserves.
The Halifax Explosion
occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917, when the city of Halifax
, Nova Scotia
, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont-Blanc
, a French cargo ship
, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo
in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbour
. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured. This is still the world's largest man-made accidental explosion
At 8:40 in the morning, the SS Mont-Blanc, chartered by the French government to carry munitions to Europe, collided with the unloaded Norwegian ship Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to carry relief supplies. Mont-Blanc caught fire ten minutes after the collision and exploded about twenty-five minutes later (at 9:04:35 AM). All buildings and structures covering nearly 2 square kilometres (500 acres) along the adjacent shore were obliterated, including those in the neighbouring communities of Richmond and Dartmouth. The explosion caused a tsunami in the harbour and a pressure wave of air that snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and carried fragments of the Mont-Blanc for kilometres.