Mudcat Café message #2277886 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109038   Message #2277886
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
02-Mar-08 - 09:16 PM
Thread Name: BS: Exxon: Drunk Ship Captains Wanted...
Subject: RE: BS: Exxon: Drunk Ship Captains Wanted...
Sandy, I was hired in Alberta when Petro-Canada was formed. Most of the industry opposition came from companies who had no interest in research, or exploration in virgin territory such as the East Coast and Arctic, and British Columbia.
Trudeau's actions not only formed PetroCanada, but provided tax relief for research, and exploration in new areas. Only the major companies, such as Imperial (Exxon affiliate), Texaco, Shell, Chevron, and some research companies took advantage of this break. All of these companies had labs which employed many people (Imperial perhaps 200 at their Calgary lab). Professionals published results in international journals. A large percentage of the research costs could be deducted from taxes.

Petro-Canada, because of its mandate, was interested in offshore and Arctic oil exploration, and set up exploration and drilling programs. Companies like Imperial also had their eyes on these possibilities, but company economists, etc., would shoot down proposals for wildcat drilling offshore as too expensive, or 'unlikely to show profit.' They did approve joint projects with PetroCanada, with shared costs.

Trudeau took on the oil industry- but his measures allowed for cooperation. Shared projects went forward that would have been too expensive for PetroCanada alone (Parliament would have rebelled) or considered uneconomic by the majors. Important discoveries were made, although their potential is still mostly in the future. Research on large scale models of ice islands, joint research with Imperial, made it possible to drill offshore in the Beaufort Sea. Experiments with oil sands have led to today's production.

The majority of the oil company work force in western Canada, however, worked for concerns that 'did not think outside the box,' hence were not aided in their production programs, and were not a part of the programs with PetroCanada, hence are still heard complaining and cussing Trudeau today. Many of today's employees of the majors know nothing of this history, and join those demonizing Trudeau.

The return to Conservative government, much of it orchestrated from Alberta as suggested by Sandy, spelled the end of this small golden age. Opposition was from all sectors of business, not just disgruntled small oil company employees.