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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Shell Canada Ltd.

Shell Canada Ltd.The Shell Transport and Trading Company and the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company are the parent companies of Shell Canada. Shell is active in over 140 countries with each country having an independent operating company of which Shell Canada is one. The overall company mandate is that these operating companies are run by people who understand the local environment and are given the authority and autonomy to make all normal business decisions.

Shell Canada Ltd.Shell appeared in North America when oil was discovered in Texas. In 1901, Shell Transport arranged with one of its producers to transport and distribute the oil, making the company a world supplier of gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oil. This placed the company in direct competition with the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. The joint venture of Shell and Royal Dutch continued to expand and in 1903 they established the jointly-owned Asiatic Petroleum Company Limited. In 1907, an agreement was signed uniting the Royal Dutch and Shell Group of Companies. The two parent companies became holding companies, with Royal Dutch holding 60 percent ownership and Shell Transport 40 percent ownership, which still exists today.

Shell Canada Ltd.With a start up capital of only $50,000 the Royal Dutch and Shell Group opened for business in Canada in 1911. The original Canadian headquarters was in Montreal but they moved in 1930 to Toronto. The company was also in western Canada to establish a bulk fuel plant near Vancouver. In 1929, Shell Oil in British Columbia was incorporated with a network of nineteen service stations. Shell Canada diversified its operations in 1932 by opening the Shellburn Refinery. A year later the Montréal East Refinery was started, producing 5,000 barrels a day.

Exploration for oil in western Canada began in 1939 by the Shell Oil Co. of New York in an effort to maintain supplies during the Second World War. Separately, Shell Canada opened an office in Calgary and started exploring the west. As the war progressed, Shell Canada was involved in shipping oil on British and Canadian tankers to the United Kingdom. In an effort to keep the supply of oil going, Shell Canada made concerted efforts to locate oil reserves in the west. The results were the major natural gas fields discovered at Jumping Pound in Alberta in 1944.

Shell became a fully-integrated petroleum company in 1957 when it bought out all the Canadian exploration and production properties of US-based Shell Oil Co., and continued to expand its retail activities at the same time. Today, Shell Canada is a major manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of refined petroleum products. Shell also produces natural gas, natural gas liquids, bitumen, and sulphur. Shell’s recent Oil Sands endeavor has resulted in an increase of more than 40 percent in hydrocarbon production.


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