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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 8, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta a. THE UTMI HfftMLP-l accounted for four- of non-resident-controlled s. control was complete integrated companies which 1 up 5 billion or 51 per cent tal industry assets. ly with Leduc did petroleum ne a viable Canadian in- ry. A year before that, da was importing 63 million 71 million barrels of crude ed in the country Sheer luck z earliest oil fields were I by sheer luck and surface ages of around Oil gs in 1858, at Titusville, Pa., >9, at Turner Valley south of iry in 1914 and at Norman near the Arctic Circle in Northwest Territories in There was also a prolific E of U.S. wells. ore James Miller Williams 3d Oil Springs production, ham Gesner, a surgeon- jgist-chemist born in vallis, N.S., had succeeded fining kerosene from coal, ing off more volatile (ducts. despread demand for ene, together with its ex- ve distribution system, ded a ready marketing for crude oil, from which il- latmg oil could be refined cheaply. Crude was also r than vegetable oils or lal fat for lubricating ines. idon became the pros- is hub of scores of refi- 5 built throughout Ontario. 10 Imperial Oil Co. Ltd. was >d by 16 Canadians who id to cash in on the oil boom saw spreading through the Esso bought iperial established branch of- from Halifax to Victoria but nding American companies gradually taking over more ie Canadian safes market. Canadian company needed capital to expand and found ly by selling majority inter- 0 John D. Rockefeller's Stan- Oil Co. in 1896. om that base Imperial grew Canada's largest integrated ompany, now owned about 70 :ent by the U.S. parent. The ig was perfect. The gasoline dine was ready to make its arance. In 1903 there were 178 cars in all Canada; seven s later there were In the total had grown to 45. nadian investors went wild Archibald Wayne [man's Calgary Petroleum lucts Co. struck oil at Turner ay in May, 1914. More than were formed But ie next 10 years the field uced only barrels of an average of 20 barrels a ipenal acquired the Ding- 1 company in 1921 and ganized it into Royahte Oil Three years later it struck dirt with the valley's deepest at feet, and oil fever ed again. Through the ression and into the Second Id War almost 90 per cent of oil came from Turney ey was in Turner Valley that ik McMahon, Max Bell and srt Brown got their start and Brown died in 1972 The trio benefitted from the 1936 discovery of a large oil lee at the edge of the valley that ushered in the biggest oil field in Canada until Leduc 11 years later. Brown went on to take ef- fective control of Home Oil Co. Ltd. in 1952, unplug Swan Hills in 1957 and initiate a swirl of global wildcat ventures from Alaska to the North Sea. Consumers' Gas Co., through Cygnus Corp. Ltd., gained control of Home in 1971. By the start of 1973 Home ranked 17th among Canada's top oil and liquid gas producers and 13th in terms of natural gas. Bell, born in Regina, went on to become publisher of Calgary Albertan and build the FP Publications newspaper group. In 1951 he formed Calvan Con- solidated pil and Gas but sold out to Canadian Petrofina Ltd., a subsidiary of Petrofina S.A. of Belgium. McMahon, a native of Moyie, B.C., formed Pacific Petroleum Ltd. in 1939, pulled out during the Second World War and bought his way back in in 1948. Then he devoted his time to getting approval for Westcoast Tran- smission Co. to build a gas pipeline nearly 700 miles from the Peace River area to Van- couver and the Pacific North- west. By 1960 McMahon's control of Westcoast and Pacific Pet- roleum slipped to Phillips Petroleum Co. of Bartlesvitfe, Okla., and Sunray Oil Co. of Tulsa, Okla.. Abandon refinery The Second World War re- newed interest in Imperial's Norman Wells field, undeve- loped for 20 yean because it was not economic to get the oil to market. Accordingly, the U.S. army proposed to build a refinery at Whitehorse, Yukon, and supply it with crude by a 600-mile pipe- line from Norman Wells. The Canol Project was started in 1942 and completed in early 1944, with the Whitehorse refinery operating about a year before the war ended. Then it was abandoned. The war underlined the bleak oil reserve situation in Canada. Turney Valley had passed its peak. Exploration now required sophisticated techniques. In an almost desperation move, Imperial Oil geologists decided to drill near Leduc. It paid off. In the next 23 years reserves of more than 14 billion barrels of oil, billion cubic feet of natural gas and 100 million tons of sulphur were discovered in Western Canada. A few years before Leduc, Har- vie, a native of Orillia, Ont, had acquired the mineral rights over acres stretching in scattered blocks from the Saskatchewan border to west of Edmonton It was a stroke of luck and became prime explora- tion property Lost appeal Harvie's two companies, Western Minerals and Western Leaseholds, prospered When he lost an appeal on taxes in 1955 he sold Western Leaseholds to Petrofina Canada for million There were others who made it big aftei Leduc. Neil McQueen, born in Petrolia in Ontario's oil country, formed Central Leduc Oils Ltd. in 1947. In a merger 10 years later it became Central- Del Rio after the rich Weyburn, Sask., field was found By 1968 Canadian Pacific Investments had bought control of Central-Del Rio. Glenn Nielsen, a sheep rancher born near Cardston, Alta., form- ed Husky Oil Ltd. in 1938. It concentrated on developing heavy asphaltic crude oil in the Lloydminster area on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. The Nielson family of Cody, Wyo., owns 24 per cent of Husky's shares, but the com- pany says it is 51 per cent owned by Canadians. Husky ranked 14th early this year in a list of Canada's top oil and gas liquid producers Ranks high Only one other Canadian com- pany ranked higher. Pan- Canadian Petroleum, 87 per cent owned by Canadian Pacific Investments, was 13th. Dome Petroleum, owned 20 per cent by Dome Mines Ltd., was 15th and had earnings in 1972 of million. The top nine companies, all internationals, were in order: Imperial, Texaco, Gulf, Mobil, Chevron Standard, Shell, Amoco, Hudson's Bay Oil and Pacific Petroleum. They accounted for 58 per cent of total liquid petroleum production in Canada in 1972, excluding synthetic crude. Oil found at Leduc With the discovery of oil at Leduc, 18 miles southwest of Edmonton, petroleum became a viable Canadian industry. A year before the Alberta find, Canada was importing 63 million of the 71 million barrels of crude refined m the country. Black cloud of smoke drifts up from flare pipe after Imperial Oil's No. 1 came in at Leduc. ;