Canadian author preserves history of Alberta Energy Industry.


In 2012, Joyce Hunt of Calgary, Canada, published her 400-page illustrated book Local Push-Global Pull: The Untold Story of the Athabaska Oil Sands, 1900-1930. “If the Oil Sands have been a curiosity to you and you want to fully understand and appreciate the events that shaped the development of the oil sands industry in Alberta, this book is a must read,” noted a February 2012 book review of her work.

“In order to have an educated opinion about the Oil sands, one must first understand the history that led to the development of this massive resource,” the reviewer added.

Joyce Hunt’s introduction to petroleum came at an early age in New Brunswick, Canada.


While the time period Hunt focuses on is different from the significant growth of modern oil sands projects, there are common threads. “The major issues 100 years ago were not that different from the major issues the big players face today,” Joyce Hunt proclaims. She among the sources she cites is a 1920 article in Imperial Oil Review (Canada:

“It is expected that the history of the petroleum industry will again repeat itself and that the higher crude oil prices now prevailing will stimulate production and bring into existence new sources of supply which will ultimately overtake the increasing consumption.

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The high price did indeed stimulate exploration throughout the world, and Alberta, Canada, was no exception, says Hunt, who reviews the role of technologies, economics, regulations, war and energy demand that shaped the energy resource.

Although conventional drilling methods were used in most of Alberta, she notes, experiments with extraction processes characterized development work in the Athabasca region throughout the 1920s.

“This economic environment provided the global pull that furthered the local push for ways to develop the Athabasca tar-sands. The deposits had been the subject of examination by curiosity seekers, investigation by government officials, attempted exploitation by promoters, as well as analysis by scientists,” Joyce explains.


“These deposits, unlike conventional petroleum sources, were visible, and well known throughout the petroleum industry, although they were still misunderstood,” she adds. “While many recognized the potential value of the deposits and pushed to develop them, others struggled with suitable terms to describe them, where as some searched for an explanation of their origin.”


Recommended Reading: Local Push-Global Pull: The Untold Story of the Athabaska Oil Sands, 1900-1930 (2012). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Please bcome an AOGHS supporter and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact © 2024 Bruce A. Wells.

Citation Information – Article Title: “History of Alberta, Canadan Tar Sands.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: May 3, 2021. Original Published Date: September 1, 2012.

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