Golden-Valley-OilAlthough geologist Gordon Campbell started off strong as a Montana independent producer, his promotions proved better than his production.

Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company was formed in Great Falls on February 22, 1921, capitalized with just $100,000. Its president and chief geologist was Campbell.

V.G. Kirkpatrick and J.F. Dealy were officers in the company, which soon listed a Spokane, Washington, office address.

Campbell was a pioneer in Montana’s early petroleum industry. He helped develop the Kevin-Sunburst oilfield after his wildcat well struck oil near the town of Shelby on April 14, 1922.

Other companies made enough discoveries that in 1924 a small Sunburst refinery began processing the oilfield’s production. The Texas Company (the future Texaco) acquired the refinery in 1928 and produced lead gasoline during and after WWII.The well’s low production did not bode well for Golden Valley Oil & Gas.
Although Campbell’s well produced little more than 20 barrels a day, his discovery opened an oilfield stretching from Shelby to the Canadian border. But the well’s low production did not bode well for Golden Valley Oil & Gas.

As the Great Depression approached, Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company was just one of many oil ventures in which Campbell participated.

When finances of one company got into trouble, he apparently moved on to another, establishing Gordon Campbell Petroleum Company and Campbell Oil Company among others.

Although convicted as early as 1922 for a stock promotion scheme, Campbell was actively promoting drilling ventures in 1933 when his Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company drilled in the Belmont Dome area of Golden Valley County.

Campbell’s latest wildcat venture was promoted as a bargain, offering stock at $1 per share (with a 100 share minimum)..

“Our well is showing up exceptionally good,” proclaimed one company advertisement. “We had a showing of dark green high gravity oil at 520 feet, and have now encountered a better showing at 1,150 feet.”

The company reminded investors that Campbell was a geologist and “the discoverer of oil in Montana and the man who mapped the Kevin-Sunburst structure and drilled the first well in that $30,000.000 field.”

However, as often happened in the Montana oilfields, Campbell’s drilling equipment failed him. The well reportedly was lost to stuck tools at 3,608 feet. Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company and Campbell faded away.


The stories of exploration and production companies joining petroleum booms (and avoiding busts) can be found updated in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Please support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website. For membership information, contact © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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