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[A synoptic review of pertinent articles from the Lloydminster Times,
originally prepared by Wendy Huard for the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Visitors Committee]

HEAVY OIL AND GAS HISTORY

April 1926 - December 1939

Below is an Index of key terms which appear in the articles below.
Use your browser's Find command to locate any of the terms listed in the Index.
If you have further information on any of these topics, please contact us.

Index

A

Advance Oil Company

O

0xville

B

Board of Trade

R

Ribstone Oil Company
Ribstone-Blackfoot oil field

C

Coles, Herman
Colony Oil and Gas Company
Cooke, Dr. G.. L.

S

Scutchings, Bill
Section 10, Township 46, Range 2, W4.
Shaw, Russell
Shepherd, Kay
Swain, E.

D

Darlington Oil and Gas Company
Dina Oil and Gas Company
Dunn, George

T

Texecano Oil Company
Triangle Oil and Gas Company
Triton Oils Company

E

Edmunds, Professor
Elger, C. H.

U

University of Alberta
University of Saskatchewan

H I

Hoskins, Cliff
Imperial Oil Company

 

W

Wainwright
Walker, Bernard
Whithers, C. H. & Company
Wilson, J. L.
Wright, Colin
Wright, Keith
Wright Ron
Wright Stuart

L

Lloydminster Gas Company
Lloydminster No. 1
Lloydminster No. 2
Lloydminster Times

Y

Yates, O[ctavious] C[ecil]

M

MacKay, Robert
Marren, Charlie

Marren-Lloydminster Oil and Gas Company
Messenger, J. B.
Mills, Charlie
Mitchell, W. H.
Monitor Oil Company
Morrison, Mr. (farmer)

 

HEAVY OIL AND GAS HISTORY

April 1926 - December 1939

On April 1, 1926 the headline in the Lloydminster Times read "Oil Discovered in Lloydminster District". According to the paper, this was the main theme of conversations in the offices, in the hotels, in the stores, on the street corners and wherever two people met.

Mr. Charlie Marren's cattle had refused to drink the water from his 160 foot well, but no special interest was taken until a visitor from Edmonton took a sample and sent it to the University of Alberta to be analyzed. The sample turned out to be petroleum distillate which was claimed to be a purer form of fuel than that found at Wainwright. Apparently the existence of oil in this district, 10 miles south of town, had been known for some time by a few local men who blanketed a quantity of lease land. Oil samples from the well were sent to big oil interests in Chicago, Texas and other eastern points. Prominent western oil interests sent their representatives to the district to investigate and leases were taken out. The article summed up, "judging from the interest being taken in the district at the present time - as a result of the coming of the CPR and the oil discovery by local men and several outside firms - Lloydminster has every hope of becoming one of the leading commercial centres in the west".

- On June 3,1926 the Oxville Oil, Gas and Development Co. Limited presented its prospectus to the citizens of the area, by placing the information in the Lloydminster Times. The company's stated objective was drilling and developing natural gas and oil. The registered office of the company was Oxville, Alberta. On April 16, 1926 Robert MacKay, a director in the company, entered into an agreement transferring to the company all his interest in Petroleum and Natural Gas Lease Number 28103 for a royalty of one-eighth of all the petroleum and natural gas produced. This lease was located on the NE quarter and legal sub-divisions 6, 7, 8, 11 and 14 of Section 10, Township 46, Range 2, W4.

- On November 18,1926 an article appeared with the heading "Lloydminster Oil Assured, Imperial Makes Big Strike". At this point, there were a number of companies involved in drilling. The article talked of excellent progress with wells being down 500 feet and 800 feet. It talked about preparations for the building of a derrick being completed, with the timbers being along in a few days.

- Ribstone Oils was another drilling company to move into the area. They successfully completed four wells, but the hilly countryside around the Battle River district presented difficulties and the wells were abandoned in the early 1950's.

- On February 10, 1927, an ad for the Marren-Lloydminster Oil and Gas Company appeared in the paper with the heading "Saskatchewan's Great Opportunity - The People of Saskatchewan Have Oil at their Door". It explained that a number of citizens had organized the company which was capitalized at $500,000.00. The Company's president was the mayor of Regina. Herman Coles, a Lloydminster broker was also one of the six directors of the company. They were at that time, placing on the market 100,000 shares at $1.00 per share. The company had 800 acres of leases. The ad stated "the Lloydminster Field Gives Promise to Surprise the Whole Oil World This Year".

Ads for the company appeared again in February and April of that year with the headings "The Romance of Oil is Still Very Much in the Making" and "Do Not Wait for Your Ship to Come In ... Row Out and Meet It". The ads stated "important developments will come this year in the Ribstone-Blackfoot oilfield which extends for some miles south of Lloydminster on the border lands of Saskatchewan and Alberta. This is a gamble, but a legitimate gamble and one where the odds are in your favour".
[ LHOIC  Note: We have not found any further information on the activities of this company.]

- On May 5, 1927 an article entitled "Oxville Oil News" explained that "renewed activity in the oil field is in evidence wherever you move here. Someday soon, one or another of the drilling outfits now operating will strike oil and there will be rush to subscribe". Up to that point, $6,700 of Oxville's shares had been subscribed and the directors where planning a selling campaign which was to be started in the near future.

- On November 8, 1928 an article appeared in the Times, "Big Flow of Natural Gas is struck at Advance Well South of Town. Drilling Operations will continue in Quest of Oil, another well is being sunk". The well was located 22 miles south of Lloydminster, Section 16-45-1. It was located in the Ribstone field, where there had been considerable activity over the previous two years. The well was now called Meridian No. 1, as Ribstone Oils had taken over the well from Advance Oils during the summer.

Additional articles appearing in the Lloydminster Times between November 1928 and June 1929 have not yet been reviewed.

- On June 6, 1929 the headline in the Lloydminster Times read "Vast Quantity of Oil Found South of Town". There were many rumours and a great deal of excitement and the Times staff went out to the site to take a look. They filled several bottles from the overflow in the pits, some of which they brought back and displayed at the Times office. As it turns out, the dry gas which had been struck at this well last October subsequently subsided. The article stated "we venture to prophesy that the Ribstone-Blackfoot field will eventually rival the famous Turner Valley". They also mentioned that on their way back to Lloydminster they visited another well 12 - 14 miles closer to town, where drilling was taking place. "it does not require very great stretch of imagination to visualize Lloydminster being supplied by gas - with all the conveniences that would mean in the not too dim and distant future".

- In September 1929 the Oxville Oil, Gas and Development Co. commenced drilling. At this time, there were 600 local owners of the stock. Oxville were the pioneers in the Ribstone-Blackfoot anticline, having obtained the first lease on the structure. On September 19, 1929 an article appeared in the Times explaining that "there was a goodly crowd present to witness the proceedings from all around the countryside, coming in by about 30 automobiles". The article went on to explain that "the equipment being used is of the best procurable, the boiler is brand new, and a fine 37 h.p. engine provides the power for running the drilling apparatus. Independent steam turbines run the electric plant. Another turbine runs the blower for the forge and force pumps. The new derrick is 87 feet high".

It was mentioned that the drilling crew would work two 12-hour shifts, instead of increasing the expenses and working three - eight hour shifts. "This is very praiseworthy of them and shows their willingness to help a locally financed effort to obtain oil".

-An article on October 10, 1929 stated "the company (Oxville) is well financed to date, but could do with still more local support so that a month's expenses ahead may always be in hand". Articles in the paper encouraged local people to get involved.

- At this time, Imperial Oil and Ribstone Oil were continuing to drill new wells. News articles would end with comments such as "two more derricks have been erected in the Ribstone-Blackfoot field".

- On December 12,1929 an extraordinary meeting of the Oxville Oil and Gas Development Co. was held. The meeting was called to get authority from the shareholders to recapitalize the company at a higher figure from $70,000 to $350,000. The money realized by these shares was intended to be used for future development. At that meeting a question was brought up as to whether the Directors had taken any steps to approach the town of Lloydminster with a view to obtaining a gas franchise. The President, Mr. R. McKay, said they had not done so as at the present time there was not enough gas to warrant such a move.

- In a February 30,1930 article, the Times wrote "new companies are showing interest in the field". According to Western Oil Examiner, the following new companies have secured acreage. Triton Oils was a company privately financed in Vancouver and California. Darlington Oil and Gas Company were determined to bring in the first commercial well in Saskatchewan.

- Oil drilling companies were rapidly moving into the district. Attention had been drawn to the fact that there was definitely oil in the district.

- Monitor Oils obtained acreage close to the Oxville lease and planned to drill their first well on 20-46-1 W4th on or around May 1, 1930.

- Texecano Oil Ltd. purchased acreage in the neighbourhood and planned their drilling to commence in the spring of 1931.

- Articles continued to appear in the paper discussing the progress of the Imperial and Meridian wells.

- The Lloydminster Gas Company was formed in 1933. The first meeting of the company was held in March 1933, at the home of O.C. Yates, in the C.P.R. station.

- News of drilling a little closer to Lloydminster came on October 12, 1933 when the heading "The Lloydminster Gas Company Commences Operations" appeared in the Times. The article explained that "arrangements had been completed whereby a complete drilling outfit is available for immediate use and will be hauled to the site just north of town. We understand that the location was chosen on the soundest geological opinion". Before deciding their drilling site they secured information from the drilling of some 11 shallow wells in the surrounding district.

At that point the public had not yet been invited to participate, but the article stated that commencing at once an active canvas will be made.

- On November 2, 1933 two articles discussing the progress of the Lloydminster Gas Company appeared in the paper, along with an ad providing people with information on the company. Charlie Mills had returned to town and had taken charge of rigging up Lloydminster No. 1 well. The article stated that "it will take about two weeks from starting time until they are ready to spud in". The company had secured the services of Bill Scutchings, a well-known rig builder. The article stated that for about two years, J. L. Wilson had been "in charge of abandoning the Ribstone wells, salvaging the casing and disposing of the property. He intends to share the work of drilling the No. 1 test".

The ad mentioned that $6,000 had already been spent and $2,000 more was needed to complete the well to a depth of 2,000 feet. The equipment and casing to be used are largely those formerly owned by the Oxville Company. The Oxville company had continued to drill for five years, several times they struck oil but none of the wells proved to be big producers. In 1933, their finances were depleted and the assets of the company were sold by the Sheriff.

- The Lloydminster Gas Company's first well was spudded in November 20, 1933 with Mayor Dr. G. L. Cooke at the controls. It's also noteworthy that the project was entirely sponsored and financed in the Lloydminster district. Over the next few months updates on the progress of the drilling often appeared in the Lloydminster Times. In December of that year one of the articles mentioned that "the very bad roads that we have been having did mean a very heavy delay to the company's schedule". In January, they struck gas at 1200 feet. In February 1934, an article stated that the company in charge of drilling had suspended operations and is negotiating with the town council for a gas franchise to supply the town with natural gas.

- On Good Friday, March 30th, 1934 there was great excitement in Lloydminster and districts when it was learned that Lloydminster Gas Company's No. 1 well had been brought in early that morning. The well came in gradually, but soon the roar could be heard for eight miles to the north. Some have said that when the wind was blowing in the right direction, you could hear it for 14 miles. People flocked to the site that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The well was located within half a mile of the town limits on Section 1 1 , Township 50, Range 28, W3. Kay Shepherd, O. C. Yates’ daughter remembers running across the exhibition grounds with a hotcross bun in her hand when their family got news that the well had been brought in. Colin Wright's sons Keith and Ron Wright, remember going out to the site when the well came in. Bernard Walker, who years later became an employee of the Lloydminster Gas Company, went out to the site with his family. He remembers O. C. Yates going through the crowd and asking people not to smoke.

- An article in the Times, on July 12,1934 , explained that a pipeline was laid to the fair grounds in time for the Exhibition. Stoves were installed for a cooking demonstration. The last day of the exhibition, Mayor Dr. G. L. Cooke turned the first sod for the pipeline which was to bring natural gas to the town.

- In 1934, gas was piped into the town and around 200 meters were hooked up. On September 12, 1934 the mayor officially turned on the gas. An article in the newspaper that November stated that the installation of natural gas "has had a marked effect on Lloydminster - trade is better, new buildings have been erected and there are now practically no vacant houses". At one point some of the meters installed in homes were prepay meters. Homeowners deposited tokens or quarters in the meter as they required heat.

- The Colony Oil and Gas Company was incorporated on March 6, 1935 and commenced drilling operations immediately. Russell Shaw was the President of Colony Oil and Gas. The site of their No. 1 well was NW 1/4-25-49-28 W3. Colony No. 1 was spudded in on May 11, 1935. Colony No. 2 also proved to be a successful producing well. It was located at LSD 16-23-49-28 W3.

- On March 21,1935 the mayor spudded in Lloydminster No. 2. The well found only salt water - no gas.

Additional newspaper articles appearing in the Lloydminster Times between April 1935 and May 1937 have not yet been reviewed.

- "Oil Strike!" topped the page of the Lloydminster Times on May 27,1937. Just as they went to press they learned that Dina No. l had come in. The well came in on May 26 with a heavy flow of oil, fully measuring up to the highest hopes of the Directors. "The oil seems to be of good quality. This is indeed good news to the district".

- On June 3,1937 the Dina Oil and Refining Co. Limited placed an article in the Times advising the public of their progress and offering shares at $1.00 per share. The Directors of the company were Geo. Dunn, C. H. Elger, W. H. Mitchell, Colin Wright, Stuart Wright (Manager) and O. C. Yates (President). Charlie E. Mills was the field superintendent.

- On June 10, 1937 an article stated that the "present intentions are to invite the public to visit the Dina lease on June 16 to witness the official test of the well". The article also advised that work on Well No. 4 was well under way. By June 17, "good progress was being made on the "good progress was being made on the derrick for Dina No. 4. Shipment of material for the Dina refinery is expected to be made early next week, and it is hoped that Dina refined products will be on the market early in August"ick for Dina No. 4. Shipment of material for the Dina refinery is expected to be made early next week, and it is hoped that Dina refined products will be on the market early in August".

- On June 24, 1937 an article highlighted "creating a record for the Lloydminster gas and oil field, the drilling rig from the No. 1 well of the Triangle Oil and Gas Company was dismantled, moved to the site of the No. 2 well and re-erected in 1 0 days". Bernard Walker commented that this was the first derrick he knew of which had been moved standing up. Triangle No. 1 was spudded in on September 30, 1936. It was located at LSD 4/5-35-44-28 W3. Triangle No. 2 was located at LSD 4-31-44-27 W3. It was spudded in on June 20,1937, but drilling was suspended on November 28,1937. Mr. J. B. Messenger was in charge of drilling operations for the C. H. Whithers Company. At that time, the Triangle Company had an extensive development program outlined for this area. Their No. 3 well located at LSD 13-14-44-28 W3 was spudded in on June 9,1939 but drilling was suspended on March 30,1940.

- Updates on the progress of the Dina wells and refinery and the Triangle wells appeared frequently in the Times. By July 15,1937, Dina No. 1 was being pumped with a natural gas engine supplied with natural gas from Dina No. 2. Two 250 barrel steel tanks had been installed between Dina No. 1 and Dina No. 4, for treating the oil and for storage. Pipelines from the tanks to the refinery had been laid and work on the Dina refinery was making good progress. The Dina Refinery was located on the north bank of the Battle River.

- On August 19, 1937 an article stated that good progress was being made on the Lloydminster No. 3 well, which was being drilled by the Dina Company. In a separate article, the Times advised that the refinery was now complete and ready for operation. Mr. Stuart Wright stated that "refined products would be available for sale to the public that week. The products will principally consist of number two and three grades of distillates."

- On August 26, 1937 the heading read "Progress!" The refined distillates, from the Dina Refinery, were being used in the tractors of the district.

- On September 16, 1937, it was noted that the Lloydminster Gas Company's No. 3 well will be utilized as an auxiliary well for the No. 1 well of the Gas Company.

- September 30, 1937, C. H. Whithers and company gave the Saskatchewan government notice of intention to survey a pipeline from Lloydminster to North Battleford. As a source of supply, Mr. Whithers pointed to the existing wells of the Triangle Gas and Oil Company and Colony Oil and Gas.

- October 21, 1937, Dina No. 4 was being completed. At that point, there was one producing oil well and a refinery at Dina. Asphalt was also being produced. Mr. Charlie Mills was in charge of field operations.

- November 4, 1937, another "still" had been installed at the refinery plant at Dina, which enabled them to double their output of distillate.

- In June 1938, the first official test of the Lloydminster gas field by the Saskatchewan government was successfully conducted by Professor Edmunds of the University of Saskatchewan and Mr. E. Swain, Superintendent of Mines for Saskatchewan.

- In the June 9, 1938 issue of the Lloydminster Times, an article stated that Northern Development, a local company headed by Charlie Mills, had commenced operations that week. The derrick for the first well was being erected "two miles south of town, just north of Mr. Morrison's on whose farm there is located a big producer."

Additional articles appearing in the Lloydminster Times in June & July of 1938 have not yet been reviewed.

- An article October 20,1938 stated that Lloydminster Royalties Ltd. a new company to enter the field is now unloading their equipment on the site of their No. 1 well, a few miles southwest of town. Mr. Russell Shaw was the managing director of the company. He informed that if necessary, the company was prepared to go to a depth of 4,000 feet or more. "This well will be the first one drilled in the local field west of the fourth Meridian. Its progress will be watched with a great amount of interest".

- Lloydminster Royalties No. 1 was spudded in on November 10, 1938. An update on the progress of drilling advised that the well was under the supervision of Charlie Mills. "13 1/2 inch casing is set and cemented at 300 feet. The crew are now busy completing rigging up operations and expect to start running the 10 inch casing on Friday."

- On January 12, 1939 an article in the Times read "At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 10 the No. 1 well of Lloydminster Royalties Ltd., located one mile west and one mile south of town came into production with a heavy flow of crude oil". Staff from the Lloydminster Times went out to watch the crew baling out the well. "We didn't have to stretch our imagination to see the wonderful possibilities of this well. We visioned first of all, numerous other wells, a refinery right in our midst, more work for our people, more business for our professional and trades people, better markets for our farmers and much more." They ended the article by saying, "Incidentally, we were cold sober and haven't got a red cent invested in this well or any other enterprise of its kind".

- The February 2, 1939 Times reported that Russell Shaw had addressed the Board of Trade's Annual Meeting . He stated at that time that "no less than three companies had spoken to him relative to building a refinery here and from information that he received, all that was needed was a larger production". In his opinion, "when the local production reached 500 barrels daily the town was almost certain of having a refinery operate here".

- By August 1939, work was still progressing on Lloydminster Royalties No. 1.

Additional articles appearing in the Lloydminster Times in 1939 have not yet been reviewed.

- The December 14, 1939 issue of the Lloydminster Times reported that "under the supervision of Mr. Cliff Hoskins, who is well known in Western Canada as an oil field mechanic, preliminary work on the erection of the new oil refinery commenced this week".