Tuesday 5 March 2013

Exploratory oil drilling, D'Arcy, Midlothian. 1919-1922

Exploratory oil drilling. D'Arcy, 4.0 km. south-east of Dalkeith and 1.6 km. south-south-west of the mining village of Chesterhill. Site of borehole, 1919-1922.
BGS image ID: P000056
D'Arcy, 4.0 km. south-east of Dalkeith and 1.6 km. south-south-west of the mining village of Chesterhill, Midlothian. Site of borehole, 1919-1922.

The boring commenced on the Carboniferous Lower Limestone Group which rises as a clearly defined anticline and which was believed to be favourable to oil accumulation. The boring is situated on the crest of this anticline. The boring produced gas at 724 feet (mainly a mixture of methane and ethane). This was sealed off. At 1810 feet some good quality oil was struck in a sandstone; the bore was stopped at 1820 feet. General view of oil well drilling rig, showing derrick and pile or casing against wall in foreground. A length of casing is suspended in the derrick by the travelling block. Photographer: D. Tait. BGS old photograph number: C02882.

For a short account of other notable and interesting boreholes in the UK visit the Geoscience Data Blog.

Bob McIntosh


  1. My father took me out to see these wells drilling but there were others( exploratory only) presumably to tap the source of St Catherines Well in Liberton along the KIAMES Rd, in the Morton hall estate ......... during WW11 about 4 wells were pumped as the oil was VERY THICK and the pump jacks operated by chains poles and bell cranks from one powerhouse there being no electricity Down Cousland way gas was hit and the well head soon vanished in a hedge row - but I used to find it and it had a gauge reading 650 PSI and as it hissed I was often tempted to strike a match !! I'm told the thick oil was just added to the Shale refinery at Winchburgh along with the shale rock ..

    1. Many thanks for your comment, its always interesting to get local information to add to the story! Here is a picture from Cousland, this is what 650 PSI must look like. In the picture, it looks like someone is trying to light it! Cousland testing gas pressure