Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, 15–19 February, San Francisco, California
The story is told of a farmer from Missouri, who, quite some years ago, joined the flood of pioneers into the continent's Northwest. He had learned of Western Canada's great potential in wheat and cattle, for oil hadn't then been widely heard of - and so picked himself a homestead along the Alberta-Montana border, on the Canadian side he assumed. The new Canadian arrived in the Spring, spent the summer breaking ground and building a cabin. At that stage, a crew of the Canadian-United States Joint Boundary Commission appeared on the scene in the course of surveying and marking the border.
They gave the farmer the sad news: their survey showed his cabin to be on the Montana side, instead of in Alberta. Our friend raised Cain, for he had set his mind on homesteading in Canada. But then he consoled himself. "After all," said he, "may be it is just as well my cabin happens to be in the good old U.S.A. From what I heard in Missouri, the winters in Canada are too danged cold for comfort anyway."
That tale illustrates a point: What a whale of a difference the imaginary line separating our two countries makes, both in fact and in our imaginations. It also illustrates something as true today as it was half a century ago. Both Canadians and Americans still have much to learn about the people, lands, resources, politics - and climates - of our great neighbor nations. I appreciate the privilege of addressing you and thus helping along the learning process by reporting on Western Canada's Oil and Gas - resources which are part of Canada's progress, and North America's security.
The great modern era of Western Canadian Oil and Gas began twelve years ago- on February 13th, 1947 - when Imperial - Leduc No. 1 wildcat in central Alberta completed with a thousand barrels daily potential of high gravity oil from Devonian reef formation. That discovery came eleven years after the opening of the Turner Valley Mississippi an limestone oilfield in southwest Alberta as Canada's first major oilfield, and after eleven years of disheartening exploration that lightened oil industry pocketbooks by over $100millions. Leduc quickly emerged as Canada's second major oilfield, brought new life and hope to the half dozen International and score of Canadian independent companies who had been carrying the exploration load - and brought a rapidly increasing inflow of capital for exploration and development from a host of foreign and Canadian sources.
Today the diversity of interest in Canadian Oil and Gas is second only to that of the United States, with its thousands of major and independent producers, and is far more diversified than Venezuela, the Middle East and other overseas oil regions. Today every major oil firm of American, British, Dutch, Belgian and French origin has a stake in Canada's Oil. So too have over 200 Canadian - controlled companies, ranging in size from shoestring independents to large integrated operators; along with over sixty U.S. independents, and a substantial number of independent firms backed by British, West German and other European capital sources.