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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Gulf Canada

Gulf Canada logo, 1950s.Gulf Canada Resources Limited was part of Gulf Oil Limited, a partnership that originated in the United States. When oil was discovered in Spindletop, Texas in 1901, the Gulf Oil Corporation was created in 1907 to manage the well and began to deliver the product to customers. This resulted in the world's first drive-in service station in 1913. With the advent of the First World War, Gulf's tanker fleet went into service. Gulf Oil continued to grow and by the early 1930s was a major US manufacturer of oil products. In the 1940s, Gulf Oil expanded its operations all over the world, which included Canada. Right after the Second World War, Gulf Canada bought 20 percent share in the British American Oil Company. British American Oil (BA) was an established Canadian oil company and was already making acquisitions of various smaller companies in Canada. In 1956, British America was celebrating its fiftieth year of operation. The same year, BA bought the Canadian branch of Gulf Oil for 8.3 million shares of their own stock. This meant the majority of BA was now owned by Gulf Oil, but the Canadian branch of Gulf Oil was owned by BA.

The British American Oil Company continued their domination of the Canadian market in 1964 by gaining 96 percent shares of Royalite Oil Company Limited. BA became the umbrella company for Anglo-American Exploration Limited (Purity 99), Anglo-Canadian Oils Limited, the Royalite Oil Company Limited, and Great West Distributors Limited. The new company, Purity 99 Oil Company Limited, took over the marketing functions for the previous four companies, while Royalite coordinated the service. The Gulf Oil Corporation had now acquired 64.8 percent of the outstanding shares of BA. In an effort to simplify the conglomerate, the shareholders decided to have all of them under one name: Gulf Canada Resources Limited. The company was a publicly traded company and would explore, develop, produce and market oil and natural gas products. Its head office was based in Calgary, Alberta.

As for the head office in America, the decision was made to merge with Standard Oil Company of California in 1984. At the time it was the largest merger in United States history, creating the Chevron Corporation. Gulf Oil continued to exist as a brand name, while Standard Oil (now called Chevron), later merged with Texaco in 2001. The Canadian arm of Gulf remained separately run. In January 1995, a group of investors led by Torch Energy Investors Incorporated acquired a 25 percent interest in Gulf Canada. By 1996, Gulf had participated in over 430 exploration and development wells in western Canada.

Gulf Canada purchased Crestar and was then taken over by Conoco in 2001. Jim Mulva was the president of Conoco at the time. Conoco and Phillips merged and that resulted in what is now ConocoPhillips in 2002.


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