oil and gas companyHopeful of finding petroleum riches long before many others, George Tucker and Ralph Peterson incorporated Anchorage Gas & Oil Development Inc. in March 1954. They leased 86,000 acres and drilled about 40 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska.

To raise more capital, in 1955 (four years before Alaska became a state) Tucker and Peterson offered 450,000 “non-assessable” common voting shares of Anchorage Gas & Development Company Inc. at $1.50 a share. Records reveal little more about Tucker and Peterson’s oil exploration company.

A book about the history of Alaska’s petroleum industry, Crude Dreams: A personal History of Oil & Politics in Alaska, by Jack Roderick, has a few pages and pictures about these two independent oilmen and their tenacious efforts before “their money and luck had run out.”

The authors explain subsequent efforts by others:

In February 1968, the rumors became reality: An ARCO drilling rig has struck oil – lots of oil – on Alaska’s remote North Slope. Jack Roderick’s story of oil and politics in Alaska reads like a novel as he tells of the risky, expensive, and mostly frustrating search for oil across the Northland. Oil companies watch one another jealously. Small independents and the new state struggle to share in the action dominated by huge multi-national oil companies.

The 1969 book, “wonderfully evokes the exciting and colorful history of the oil industry in Alaska,” notes the Oil & Gas Journal. The fate of the unsuccessful Anchorage Gas & Oil Development company is part of that history. Learn more about the 49th state’s petroleum industry in Trans-Alaska Pipeline History.

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The stories behind this other attempts to find elusive “black gold” during petroleum exploration booms (and busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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Listen online to “Remember When Wednesdays” on the weekday morning radio program, Exploring Energy, 9 a.m – 10 a.m., eastern time. On the fourth Wednesday of each month AOGHS Executive Director Bruce Wells calls in to discuss petroleum history.

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