ABSTRACT

Oil company involvement in Canadian mineral exploration in 1968 will bereviewed, based on a 35-company questionnaire. Evidence of increases in companyinvolvement in 1967 and 1968 to more direct participation in 1969 will bepresented and shown by data on expenditures for those years and other pertinentinformation. Increases in the number of companies and amounts of spendingreflect a significant movement of oil and gas companies into the mineralsfield. Philosophical and economical aspects of oil company thinking will bediscussed as they pertain to prospecting. The conclusion is drawn that the moveof oil companies to mineral exploration is a logical transfer of men and ideasgeared to changing times and the need for diversification of interests. Oilcompany activity in Canada will be reviewed; special reference will be made tonorthern Saskatchewan, and the implications of the Gulf Minerals uraniumoccurrence will be assessed.

INTRODUCTION

A REVIEW of oil company involvement in Canadian mineral exploration in 1968is presented in this paper, and comparisons are made to activity in 1967 and1969. The word "involvement" rather than "participation" is used because, forthe most part, oil companies have been involved in exploration by way ofindirect participation through joint ventures and syndicates that areprincipally conducted by contractors, consultants or mining companies. Thiswill change in 1969 and succeeding years; based on the level of activity andintensity of pursual in 1967 and 1968, oil companies will move from involvementto direct participation. Data to support this conclusion is presented, asderived from a questionnaire from thirty-five responding oil companies workingin Canada. To begin with, an oil company for the purposes of thisdiscussion is an organization that derives most, if not all, of its income fromsome form of oil and gas operation; this would even include pipeline ortransmission companies, because they are now mineral explorers. The ultimatesources of oil company money is not considered, only the fact that it is spentin Canada. Monies expended 1967, 1968 and 1969 To illustrate oil companyactivity, Figure 1 shows expenditures for the years 1967, 1968 and 1969, and itcan be seen that in the number of companies spending $500,000 on exploration istwice that for the year 1967. Total spending for the same years is estimated at$7 million (1967), $13 million (1968) and $20 million (1969). Due to recentpermit acquisition in Keewatin, mostly by oil companies, a figure closer to $21million maybe more accurate.

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