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Last change April 20, 2023

D-18 well on fire     Bitumount
Killing the King Christian D – 18 well, Arctic Islands, 1970-1971

Thanks for his help to Jason of
  Bitumount oil sands processing plant, 1936
Credit: Glenbow Archives


Stories of Canadian petroleum history are in this branch of the website.

Archives Newsletters - all Archives newsletters, back to the first in 1987

Petroleum History Bibliography

Updated June 8, 2022
(Now 1247 pages)

- by Doug Cass who welcomes additions and comments
- 1247 pages, 6.6 meg PDF

  • archival records
  • books
  • theses
  • articles
  • company histories
  • biographies and autobiographies
  • fiction, drama, poetry and music
  • humour
  • film, audio, video and exhibitions
  • book and film reviews
  • author index
Oral History Projects

1 interview 2013 in Ongoing Oral History Project

117 interviews in Phase III 2014 Oil Sands

84 interviews in Phase II 2004 - including CSEG and CSPG interviews

223 interviews in Phase I, 1981 - 1985


Old Companies Research about old oil and gas companies that we have already researched in response to queries from people using our website.
Peter McKenzie-Brown's blog Past PHS Director, Peter McKenzie-Brown's blog which includes articles he has written on petroleum history.
Seismic images circa 1950s Harding collection of seismic films and photos from the 1950s and 1960s
Canada's First Oil Gusher The Shaw Investigation:
A Review of Sources to Determine Who Drilled Canada’s First Oil Gusher
BP and Amoco A Tale of Two Leaders - Sir John Browne and Bill McCaffrey
by Peter McKenzie Brown, presented to BP Amoco annuitants in 2018
The Suncor Story by
Peter McKenzie‐Brown

Presented September 11, 2017 at the Book Launch for Peter McKenzie-Brown's book
Bitumen: The people, performance and passions behind Alberta’s oil sands
Timeline – Global Petroleum Industry

By Clinton Tippett, President of the Petroleum History Society
Prepared for the June 2014 Global Petroleum Show in Calgary

Remembering a Rich History at Turner Valley

By David Finch and Clint Tippett in May 2014 AAPG Explorer

1947 Film - The Story of Oil
(about Turner Valley)
Thanks to
Oil Sands 101 Lecture Notes Notes from series of 6 lectures presented by the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners and the Petroleum History Society in early 2013.
75 Years of Alberta Energy Regulation

Steward: 75 Years of Alberta Energy Regulation
by Gordon Jaremko
© 2013 by the Energy Resources Conservation Board; 179 pages;
Download the book at

2008 Celebration 2008 Celebration of First Commercial Oil Well in Oil Springs ON - external site about events (PDF)
Chronologies of Events Before Leduc

Thanks to Frank Dabbs for permission to reprint his chronologies of:

  • Alberta Petroleum Exploration and Discovery 1875-1947
  • Alberta Petroleum Public Policy Milestones 1670-1945
Canadian Beginnings 1846-1870 the contributions of Abraham Gesner, Charles Nelson Tripp, James Miller Williams, and Hugh Nixon Shaw to the modern petroleum era.
Alberta's First Natural Gas Discovery 1883 discovery at Langevin Siding (now Alderson) by Micky Gulless
Walking Tour - Downtown Calgary Petroleum history walking tour of downtown Calgary
- including handout from July 2007 event
Historical Posters for 2004 CSEG Convention 10 posters on a variety of topics
PHS Speakers

People who have made presentations to the Petroleum History Society with links to issue where summarized in Archives newsletters.

PHS Speeches Presentation slides, audio, or text versions of speeches and presentations made to PHS meetings on historical topics.
Stories Petroleum history stories
Oral History Projects - reports on the Oral History Projects including who was interviewed.
Petroleum History Society Awards - award winners
6 historical events 6 events in the first 100 years of Canada's petroleum industry
Petroleum Collection
at the Glenbow
An overview of some of the petroleum records housed at the Glenbow Archives and Library, now at the University of Calgary.
Petroleum History Books Petroleum history books
and Calgary sources
Links to related websites  

Date added Story
April 2021 Eugene Coste in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Dec.2020 The Killing of King Christian D-18 well blowout - .MPG file 1.3 gigabytes


The Suncor Story - 7 pages 1 meg PDF

Presented by Peter McKenzie-Brown on September 11, 2017 at the Book Launch for his book
Bitumen: The people, performance and passions behind Alberta’s oil sands

Underground East - 1953 film

The PHS sponsored digitizing this 16-minute film about the construction of the 1129-mile pipeline from Edmonton to Superior, Wisconsin in 1950 in only 150 days.

Feb.2016 CBC News Edmonton story: Oilsands veteran Jack Avery remembers the early days
June 2015 Politics and the Federal Principle in Canada: Newfoundland Offshore Oil Development and the Quest for Political Stability and Economic Justice
by Raymond Blake
in The Canadian Historical Review Volume 96, Issue 1
April 2010

Rhetoric and Reality: Albertans and Their Oil Industry Under Peter Lougheed
By Erik Lizée
Masters Thesis - University of Alberta
143-page PDF 1.7 meg

November 2009 From North to South: How Norman Wells led to Leduc
by Peter McKenzie-Brown, PHS Director
(link takes you to his blog "Language Matters")
Presented to The International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, August 11, 2009
September 2008 Gesner and Williams: two Canadians who launched the world's petroleum industry - by Earle Gray, PHS Member
(reproduced with the author's permission) 12-page PDF, 149k
September 2005 Petroleum History Society posters for Great Explorations: Canada and Beyond, the 2004 Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists National Convention.
May 2005 Canadian Beginnings - 1846-1870 the contributions of Abraham Gesner, Charles Nelson Tripp, James Miller Williams, and Hugh Nixon Shaw to the modern petroleum era.
December 2004 Photos from the ceremony unveiling the plaque to commemorate the oil boom town of Little Chicago/ Royalties in southern Alberta
January 2003

Stories from the 75-year history of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologist by David Finch, Historian (link no longer available)
- webcast of December 12/02 luncheon presentation to the CSPG via the CSPG website

April 2002 Alberta's First Natural Gas Discovery by Micky Gulless
October 2001 Six Historical Events in the First 100 Years of Canada's Petroleum Industry
commemorated by the PHS with a set of collector pins

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Petroleum History Society
Calgary, Alberta