Photostory #450A: Search for Secrets 'neath Sable's Shifting Sands
National Film Board of Canada
August 29, 1967
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
The latest chapter in the unfolding saga of Sable Island - the coming of the oilmen - is being played raucously out of character to what has passed before. Upon this inhospitable, yet beautiful sliver of wind-and-wave-formed sand on the edge of Canada's Atlantic continental shelf, the scene of many a terrible shipwreck and hardship in years gone by, has come a new breed of men. With little regard to myth or nature's physical opposition they are methodically drilling thousands of feet down beneath the island's storied sands in the search for oil. This exploratory well, scheduled for a depth of 15,000 feet, is near the centre of a 1,200,000-acre permit issued to Mobil Oil Canada Limited which in turn is part of a grand total of 142 million acres authorized by the federal government for exploration work by various companies off Canada's east coast. The experienced oil seekers, mainly from Canada's already extremely oil-rich province of Alberta, found scant trouble in landing their enormous loads of heavy equipment on the formidable shores of Sable Island and within a few days, in May, their oil rig towered up into the fog banks that shroud the island in spring and early summer. Now, supplied by frequent flights of a chartered Canso amphibian, the hard grinding work on the drill floor goes on apace. For Canada's rapidly expanding oil industry, this new venture may add yet another rich reservoir of abundant natural wealth.