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Home > History of Development > Alberta's Heroes of Resource Development > Hydrocarbon Heroes >  Vern Hunter

Alberta's Scientific Heroes

Vern Hunter

Imperial Oil Limited, Field Superintendent, Vern Hunter, late 1930'sBorn in Nanton, Alberta, Vern Hunter began his career in the oil industry as a junior clerk working for Royalite Oil. In 1927, Hunter had his first roughneck job on the early rotary rigs in the Turner Valley field. Vern Hunter was laid off during the Depression when almost all drilling was halted.  In 1934, however, Hunter was rehired.  Vern Hunter continued to work in the oil industry, and by 1940 had made his way to tool push, in charge of one of the first portable diesel powered rigs in Canada. Vern Hunter, who became known for his lack of success in drilling for oil, earned the nickname "Dry Hole" Hunter. 

Page from the Western ExaminerWhile working as a tool push for Imperial Oil in mid-November of 1946, Vernon Hunter was ordered to move a rig, the Wilson #2 to a different location, just miles west of Leduc. It was at that location in November of 1946 that the monumental Imperial Leduc No. 1 was spudded that changed the oil industry in Alberta forever.  It was Hunter's 134th hole.

In March of 1961, Vern Hunter was promoted to Manager of the Edmonton Division of Imperial Oil. The division was the largest producing area in Canada. He held this position until his retirement in 1967. His retirement was brief, however, and Vernon Hunter came out of retirement in 1968 to found V. H. Hunter & Associates Well Consultants Ltd. where he served as President for ten years.

Vernon Hunter was became an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Petroleum Association in 1968. He was also instrumental in forming the Arctic Petroleum Operators Association. This organization promoted safe drilling practices in Canada's North. 

Vernon Hunter died in January 1985, leaving behind his second wife, Beatrice and his son Donald. In 1986, the Senior Oilman's Golf Association posthumously named Vern Hunter Honorary Oilman of the year.  

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