Old Oil Stocks – in progress “A”
Chances are people seeking financial information here will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, a small non-profit program that depends on donations, simply does not have resources to provide free research of corporate histories.
However, AOGHS continues to look into forum queries as part of its energy education mission. Some investigations have revealed little-known stories like Buffalo Bill’s Shoshone Oil Company; many others have found questionable dealings during booms and epidemics of “black gold” fever like Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
Visitors’ forum questions are posted on the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? Visit again, because AOGHS continues to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”
Alabama Central Oil & Gas
Alabama Central Oil & Gas Company was one of many that formed in the wake of the December 20, 1909, discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas near Fayette, Alabama. The discovery by Eureka Oil & Gas Company opened of what is now known as the Black Warrior Basin.
With the backing of Birmingham and New York City investors, Alabama Central Oil & Gas incorporated in 1910 in Delaware with capitalization of $1 million. The company offered its stock for sale to the public at $1 per share. “In this way money is to be raised for the building of plants, for refining in case of oil being brought up, and for pipe lines for the gas,” reported the publication Industrial World.
With leases on about 800 acres, Alabama Central Oil & Gas drilled its first well (the Freeman No. 1) near the Southern Railway’s Bankston Station, about 12 miles west of Fayette. Despite encouraging shows of oil and natural gas, trouble soon appeared. “One misfortune followed another, however, and finally the tools were lost…and the well abandoned,” noted Industrial World. Salt water intrusion ruined the well at a depth of about 1,900 feet. The well was later deepened to more than 2,900 feet, but with no success.
With the company’s first well abandoned, Alabama Central Oil & Gas tried again with their Woods No. 1 well, which like the first attempt, had slight shows of oil and natural gas between depths of 1,350 feet and 1,440 feet. After encountering flowing salt water in sand, this well had to be abandoned too, apparently exhausting the company’s capital. With Alabama Central Oil & Gas Company’s failure to pay its taxes for two consecutive years, its charter to do business was revoked on January 22, 1914.
The Fayette boom soon died out. By 1917, more than 40 wells had been drilled in the area but no significant new natural gas deposits were found in Alabama for several decades. Today, coal bed methane has become the focus of energy exploration in the Black Warrior Basin.
Albany-Decatur Oil & Gas Company
An Alabama Department of Archives and History digital image shows local newspaper publisher Christopher James Hildreth among members of the Alabama Press Association photographed at an Albany-Decatur Oil & Gas Company well, “Drilling four miles south of Decatur, ALA” on May 5, 1921. Such promotional excursions to active drilling sites were often used to entice investors. The No. 1 English well was drilled in Section 6; Township 6 South; Range 4 West, in Morgan County. By 1926 it was the deepest oil well in North Alabama – reportedly reaching a depth of 4,130 feet before being lost to “stuck tools” that could not be “fished” from the well.
Alto Gasoline & Oil Company
Alto Gasoline & Oil Company incorporated in June 1919 with offices in Fort Worth, Texas, and promptly offered 300,000 shares of common stock to the public on the New York Curb Market. Alto Gasoline & Oil held leases in the prolific Burkburnett oilfield as well as owning a casing-head gas plant in Skiatook, Oklahoma. By 1921 the company’s petroleum production was about 2,600 barrels of oil a day from 18 wells, with drilling underway at another 11, according to Moody’s Analyses of Investments, Industrials. One year later, 91 percent of the company’s stock was purchased by the Middle States Oil Company for a reported $954,000. Middle States Oil had a convoluted litigation history; its chairman was Charles Haskell, the first Governor of Oklahoma after statehood in 1907.
Amalgamated Oil Company
Scripophily collectors value old Amalgamated Oil Company stock certificates, which sell on Ebay and other venues. Amalgamated was incorporated in California, October 27, 1904, and by June 1910, it had total production of 4,948 barrels a day from its 138 wells. The company acquired properties from Arcturus Oil Co. and Salt Lake Oil Co. and owned a pipeline from its producing properties to Los Angeles. There, on six acres between the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, the Amalgamated Oil Company’s 3,000-barrel-a-day refinery shipped its products.
The company paid investors dividends of as much as 10%. By 1922, the Associated Oil Company of California had gained control of Amalgamated Oil Company through purchase of 50.01% of Amalgamated’s stock. Amalgamated continued to drill extensively in several California oil fields, e.g.; Coyote Hills, Santa Fe Springs, Huntington Beach, Salt Lake, and Richfield. Amalgamated brought in a 1,000 barrel a day producer (the Butterworth No. 3) in the Santa Fe Spring field. The California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has data online that will enable you to drill deeper for more information.
Despite some success, Amalgamated’s 1922 balance sheet showed a decrease of over one-half million dollars from its 1920 earnings, primarily because of increased drilling expenses. To find more about the Amalgamated Oil Company, try searching the California Digital Newspaper Collection online. For example, the company is uniquely related to the creation of the Los Angeles community of Beverly Hills. Amalgamated bought the land for oil exploration in 1905, but finding no oil, spawned the Rodeo Land & Water Company as a subdivision to develop the property as real estate.
American Oil & Refining Company
The trade publication Petroleum Age in June 1918 reported the American Oil & Refining Company, including its refinery at Cedar Grove, Louisiana, had been taken over by the newly formed Pine Island Refining Company (formerly, the American Refinery Company). Officers of the new company included R.L. Cook, president; D.H. Christman, vice president; and C.M. Cook, secretary. The next year, Oil Distribution News reported that Pine Island Refining’s plant (with a capacity to process 200 barrels of oil a day) had been purchased by International Oil & Gas Corporation. To follow this research trail further, learn about efforts to exploit the Caddo and Pine Island oilfields at the Louisiana Oil Museum in Oil City.
American Workers Oil Field Company
The American Workers Oil Field Company was underwritten by about 6,000 shipyard workers on the coast of Washington (Bremerton, circa 1919) and acquired 2,000 acres in Wyoming, encompassing areas of the Lost Soldier Field extending to Casper. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission may offer more information. Read more about Wyoming’s petroleum history in First Wyoming Oil Wells.
Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral Corporation
From its inception in 1971, Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral Corporation was in the business of mining iron ore. The company mined magnetite sand deposits along the beach of Santo Tomas, La Union, Philippines. It does not appear Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral was directly in the oil business – exploration, production, refining, transportation, or distribution. The company shipped more than 83,000 metric tons of iron ore to Japan in 1972. In 1996, it became an investment firm, Anglo-Philippine Holdings Corporation, traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Anna May Oil Company
In November 1921 the Anna May Oil Company was reported to be drilling south of Miles City in Montana’s famed Powder River Basin but its first well (No. 1 in Section 20) had to be abandoned when the drill bit stuck at about 100 foot depth and could not be retrieved. Efforts to retrieve – often called “fishing” – the stuck tool failed and the well was abandoned. The second well in section 21 was drilled all the way to 802 feet in the shallow field without finding oil and was also abandoned. With that kind of investment unrewarded, the company soon disappeared from financial records.
Arizona Development Company
Arizona Development Company incorporated with a Delaware charter on March 8, 1900 but the charter was repealed in 1903 and the company listed in “Obsolete American Securities and Corporations, Volume I” by R. M. Smythe. In 1921, Union Oil Company brought in the Bell No. 1 well in the city of Santa Fe Springs, California, producing over 2,000 barrels of oil a day and prompting a rush of new exploration as entrepreneurs hoped to exploit yet another oil bonanza. A year later, the extent of the Santa Fe Springs oilfield was still undefined as dozens of new wells were being drilled and production reached 80,000 barrels of oil a day.
Arkadelphia Oil Company
Nine months after Spindletop launched the modern American petroleum industry in January 1901 with unprecedented oil production, the Arkadelphia Oil Company was formed with S.R McNutt as president and L.C. Newberry as secretary. The company’s stated purpose was “to sink oil wells at Beaumont, Texas.”
The United States Geological Survey Bulletin 212 identifies Arkadelphia Oil Company as having drilled to a depth of 1,025 feet to complete a producing well amidst the frenzy of drilling and investment in Spindletop Hill oilfield and a discovery at nearby Sour Lake Springs. Spindletop would soon produce more oil in one day than all the rest of the world’s oilfields combined. In its first year alone the field produced 3.59 million barrels of oil — climbing to 17.4 million barrels of oil by its second year.
Although Texaco, Gulf, Mobile, Humble and Sun oil companies can trace their roots to southeastern Texas, many ventures were not successful. Over supply drove crude oil prices down to as low as three cents per barrel! Production slowed down. “After yielding 17,500,000 barrels of oil in 1902, the Spindletop wells were down to 10,000 barrels a day in February 1904,” notes the Texas State Historical Association.
Market pressures proved too much for many under-capitalized ventures, Arkadelphia Oil Company among them. The Arkansas secretary of state includes Arkadelphia Oil in its “List of Domestic Corporations Whose Rights to do Business were Forfeited July 2, 1906.”
Associated Oil & Gas Company
Associated Oil and Gas Company president Harry J. Mosser was a well established oilman and entrepreneur from Alice, Texas who prospered in the exploration and production of natural gas in the 1940s and 1950s.
In addition to serving as president of Associated Oil & Gas, Mosser was also president of Orange Grove Oil & Gas Corporation, Prince Marine Drilling & Exploration Company, H.J. Mosser Oil & Gas Company, and South-Tex Corporation. Associated Oil & Gas undertook several acquisitions, including Gulf States Development Corporation, and created subsidiaries such as George Rental Service and the Texas Gas Utilities Company. Associated Oil & Gas Company reincorporated in Delaware on October 10, 1964, but P.O. Box 66465 remained its Houston office.
In 1969, according to Financial Information’s “Directory of Obsolete Securities,” the name of Associated Oil & Gas Company was changed to A.O. Industries and its location to Coral Gables, Florida. That company acquired Auto-Swage Products, Inc., and sought the Securities and Exchange Commission’s authority for the issue of A.O. Industries stock, “…in exchange for all the assets or shares of other corporations in connection with its acquisition program.” The newly constituted A.O. Industries was a very diverse holding company rather than the energy and natural gas producer that was its predecessor.
By 1971 A.O. Industries’ trading volume on the American Stock Exchange was about 15,000 shares daily. In 1974 A.O. Industries was renamed Aegis Corporation but its principal place of business remained Coral Gables, Florida. The corporation by now had interests in tread rubber, metallurgy, ship repair and pleasure boats. As of March 18, 1981, there were almost 11 million shares of Aegis common stock outstanding – and selling for about $2.50 per share.
By 1984, when Aegis Corporation was acquired by Minstar Incorporated, the $60-million deal was struck at a price of about $6 per share. In 1988, Minstar Incorporated “went private” as famed corporate raider Irwin Jacobs (known as “Irv the Liquidator”) paid Minstar shareholders about $400,000,000 for the company, which had evolved into a major builder of sport and pleasure boats. In 1994 Jacobs’ new private company, Genmar Holdings absorbed Minstar Inc. In 2009, Genmar Holdings entered bankruptcy.
Atlantic Petroleum Company
Atlantic Petroleum sold on the New York Curb market for about $3 a share during 1921 until the company recapitalized and exchanged all of its Atlantic Petroleum (old) for new Atlantic Petroleum shares. The basis was five of the old shares for one of the new. When moved from the curb market to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the new stock sold for about $18 per share by the end of October 1921, up to $25 per share by February 1922.
Early in 1922 Poor’s Government and Municipal Supplement reported that 90 percent of the newly recapitalized Atlantic Petroleum had been acquired by Cosden Oil & Gas Company. Three shares of Atlantic Petroleum were exchanged for two shares of Cosden. Atlantic holdings added about 2,740 acres of producing leases in Oklahoma and Kansas with 32,318 acres undeveloped leases in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Atlantic properties reportedly produced 164,503 barrels of oil in the first quarter 1922 with successful new wells being drilled in Texas’ Bristow district.
Atlantic Petroleum stock certificates would have been perforated or otherwise canceled in the exchange with Cosden. These shares have no value as a marketable securities because the original owner named on the certificate turned it in to a transfer agent during acquisition to receive Cosden shares. Like other obsolete stock certificates, they no longer reflect partial ownership in a company. In 1925 the Mid-Continent Petroleum Company acquired Cosden Oil & Gas Company.
The stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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