Old Oil Stocks – in progress “W”
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.
Visit the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and view company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? AOGHS will continue to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”
Warren Oil & Uranium Mining Company
Warren Oil and Uranium Mining Company sold for six cents per share in 1955. It subsequently became Westminister Corporation, which was sued by Neptune Uranium Corporation of Uravan, Colorado (once a uranium mining town, now abandoned). The dispute involved the purchase of leases.
The Colorado Supreme Court noted on October 17, 1960, that a $5,000 initial payment by Warren Oil and Uranium Mining to Neptune Uranium was presented for payment, but was rejected due to “insufficient funds.” Westminister Corporation was adjudged liable for the $5,000. Neither Warren Oil and Uranium Mining nor Westminister succeeded.
Washington-Montana Oil Company
According to the 1922 American Oil Directory, Washington-Montana Oil Company of Roundup, Montana, was capitalized at $3 million with a nominal par value of $1 per share. Officers were Frank Darnell, George Fair, M.С Roberts, H.L. Allen, H.S. Turner, Silas Archibald, and W.W. Feiger.
The U.S. Department of the Interior Geological Survey Circular 172 reports that Washington-Montana Oil Company drilled only one well in Montana. It was a wildcat sited in Musselshell County’s Devil’s Basin. The well reached a total depth of 900 feet in 1921.
Although Washington-Montana Oil exploratory well had a showing of oil at 650 feet deep, drilling was stopped at 900 feet and the well abandoned as a dry hole. Nor did the company find commercial quantities of oil in the state of Washington – nobody did until 1957. Montana’s first oil well was drilled by Butte Oil Co. in 1901 in the Kintla Lake area that’s now part of Glacier National Park, notes a 2011 article, “Montana’s first oil well was drilled at Kintla Lake in 1901.”
Wellmington Oil Corporation
Wellmington Oil was first established as a Delaware corporation February 5, 1926, and appears to have drilled only one well, the Fee No. 1, in Wyoming’s Freemont County. The first Wyoming oil wells had launched the state’s petroleum industry in 1883.
Drilling of a Wellmington Oil exploratory well was intermittent in 1935, reaching a depth of 3,115 feet without finding oil. The company’s charter was revoked in 1955 for failure to pay taxes.
Western Giant Oil Company
Western Giant Oil Company of Deadwood, South Dakota, began drilling an oil well northwest of Edgemont in September 1956, but found uranium. It was only a limited amount of uranium ore and the well was plugged in October never having exceeded 50 feet deep. By July 1957 the Billings (Montana) Gazette reported Western Giant Oil Company was actively drilling for oil about two miles north of Greybull, Wyoming, in the Spence Dome field. The company drilled three wells; the first was completed with initial production of 60 barrels of oil a day. This well was first to find the Amsden Formation pay zone.
However, Western Giant Oil’s next two exploratory wells were dry holes, neither exceeding 600 feet deep. Although the Spence Dome field was nonetheless a prolific producer, it does not appear Western Giant Oil was able to do any more drilling after the two consecutive failures. According to the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities, by 1967 all company assets had been sold and the $3 million stock issue “was not worth the paper it was printed on.”
Western Natural Gas Company
There are and have been a number of companies that share the name Western Natural Gas Company. For example, in 1982 a company of the same name emerged from the bankruptcy of the Dowdle Oil Company, Midland, Texas, and established operations in La Jolla, California. It moved to Dallas in 1986 but went bankrupt.
Another Western Natural Gas Company incorporated in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1913. By 1934, this company owned natural gas wells and acquired a franchise to provide the gas to Checotah, Eufaula and Cathay. Western Natural Gas secured its $90,000 debt with a lien on its gas plants, franchises and field lines serving these cities. In 1935, the newly incorporated company established headquarters in Houston and began expanding its holdings in Kansas, Arkansas and other states as an integrated oil company engaged exploration, production, transportation, refining and marketing of petroleum products.
Records show that by 1963 Western Natural Gas directors and two-thirds of common stock holders voted to liquidate the company. Warren Buffett bought 266,000 shares and Sinclair Oil bought Western’s gas properties – but by 1969 the shareholders’ investments were still unresolved. As Western Natural Gas sold its properties, including leases, and went out of business, several court cases followed involving distribution of the company’s assets to debt and contract holders, tax issues, etc.
A new Western Natural Gas incorporation in Delaware followed litigation and in 1994 the company changed its name from Western Natural Gas Company to North American Gaming and Entertainment Corporation doing all its business in Shanghai, China. By 2001 it was a shell company with no substantial assets and no recent operating history and was purchased by Shaanxi Chang Jiang Petroleum Energy Development Joint-stock Company, Ltd.
Western Nebraska Oil Company
With $300 cash and a second-hand truck, Maurice H. (Bud) Robineau of Sidney, Nebraska, began operations as the Western Nebraska Oil Company in 1925 to market gasoline and other petroleum products to consumers in accessible small towns, farms and ranches. His company acquired a refinery in McPherson, Kansas, and built a refinery in Denver, Colorado.
By 1934 Robineau’s Western Nebraska had also purchased a small refinery in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bay Petroleum Company absorbed Western Nebraska Oil in 1936, making Robineau a partner with financier Charles U. Bay of New York. In 1940 the men dissolved their partnership and formed Frontier Refining Company from its constituent parts, Bay Petroleum and Western Nebraska Oil.
In 1950 Ashland Oil & Refining Company purchased Frontier Refining. After Bud Robineau’s death in 1967, Husky Oil Company of Cody, Wyoming, purchased the Frontier Refining Company. The first Nebraska oil well was completed in 1940.
Western States Oil Company – see Middle States Oil Corporation
Western Wyoming Natural Gas Company
Notice of Western Wyoming Natural Gas Company’s incorporation appeared in Wyoming’s Big Piney Examiner of Sublette County in September 1958. The venture’s purpose was to “conduct the business of a public utility producing, buying, and supplying gas and to carry on all the business and related enterprises that may be necessary or that may be carried on by gas companies.”
President of the new company was a Blair Steele, an oil and gas entrepreneur with prior experience; he had drilled in New Mexico and been 30 percent owner of Tip Top Oil Company in 1952. While with Tip Top Oil, Steele drilled two wells in Ohio’s Logan County. He also applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission to register more than one million dollars worth of Tip Top Oil Company securities for sale. Steele also secured property in Allegheny County, New York, but by November 29, 1956, that parcel was sold by the county treasurer “for the non-payment of taxes assessed.” Tip Top Oil Company was gone.
Steele had nonetheless acquired a natural gas producing well in New Mexico, along with the State’s Certificate of Compliance and Authorization to Transport Oil and Natural Gas. In Wyoming, Steele awaited necessary approvals and certifications for Western Wyoming Natural Gas Company (also see Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company and First Wyoming Oil Wells).
Western Wyoming Natural Gas Company’s future collapsed when the state denied and dismissed its April 1961 application for a Certificate of Public Convenience. The reason was in part because, “the rate at which the Company proposes to purchase its supply of natural gas and its proposed schedule of retail rates which in a large measure are predicated thereon, are unjust, unreasonable and the same are not compatible with the public interest.” Obsolete Western Wyoming Natural Gas Company stock certificates might have some collectible value.
Wolf Butte Oil & Gas Company
Wolf Butte Oil and Gas Company didn’t leave much of a petroleum exploration footprint after it incorporated in Great Falls, Montana, on July 8, 1929 with capital stock of $100,000. The company’s timing was terrible, given September 18, 1929, when prices on the New York Stock Exchange abruptly plummeted and continued to do so, beginning the Great Depression. Thousands of companies failed and millions of stocks became worthless in the ensuing months. Wolf Butte Oil & Gas appears to be among the deceased.
Wyoming Chief Oil Refining Company
Researchers can track the creation and history of Wyoming Chief Oil Refining Company by way of contemporary newspaper accounts online at the Wyoming Newspaper Project, which includes more than 800,000 pages of content. Search “Wyoming Chief Oil” on the website to find an abundance of information that can assist in research. Learn more about Wyoming’s rich oil patch history in First Wyoming Oil Wells.
Wyoming Consolidated Oil Company
William Edmund Youle, former Superintendent of the American Oil Company in Oil City, Pennsylvania, came to California in 1877 as a successful oil man. He organized the Wyoming Consolidated Oil Company in Los Angeles on July 8, 1912, with capitalization of $3 million. Assistant U.S. Attorney General W.N. Mills endorsed Youle’s petroleum expertise. “I had rather have his opinion upon untested oil territory as a basis for investment than the opinion of any geologist of my acquaintance,” proclaimed Mills. Wyoming Consolidated Oil Company drilled six miles northwest of Fort Bridger in 1917, but by March 1918, the company’s charter had lapsed. This notwithstanding, in 1920 the company sold 58,000 shares of stock at between 35 cent and 40 cents per share. The company soon disappeared from financial records.
Wyoming Oil & Coal Company
The Wyoming Oil and Coal Company (capitalized at $500,000) filed articles of incorporation in September 1916 “for the purpose of engaging in the oil and coal development of Fremont County.” The new company secured rights to land southeast of Riverton, Wyoming.
By March 16, 1917, the Riverton Review reported the company “finding lots of encouragement in the way of capital, this company having large holdings near the Alkali Butte fields… opportunities come only once I a lifetime and you only have to strike it right once, after that the opportunities will come on their own accord.”
Wyoming Oil and Coal brought in Alfred Steele and W.F. Henning to manage its coal mining and delivery business, including seven coal delivery trucks. Steele became president of the Center Oil Company, which formed in March 1917. In June 1918 Center Oil acquired controlling interests in Wyoming Oil & Coal Company, including “15 quarter sections and the Brown coal mine.”
By May 1920, however, the Cheno Oil Company had acquired all properties and interests of the former Wyoming Oil & Coal Company, including its 2,500 acres in the Alkali Butte. By April 1921 the Brown Oil Corporation had in turn taken over stock control of Cheno Oil Company. Other companies, including the Myrin Oil Company, were involved in the complex maze of lease assignments, joint drilling efforts, mergers and changing ownership that often accompanied petroleum booms. None of these companies survived the Great Depression.
Wyoming Second Standard Oil Company
Wyoming Second Standard Oil Company organized as a Colorado corporation and by 1907 had leases on 3,685 acres in a number of producing oilfields, including Big Muddy, Denver Dome, and Lost Soldier in Wyoming, as well as sites in Kansas’ Montgomery, Franklin and Neosho counties.
The August 28, 1917, issue of The Mining American included promotions for Wyoming Second Standard Oil. The ads enticed investors to fund operations with purchases of stock offered at 10 cents per share. Some of the ads proclaimed the company was drilling near proven wells and already had eight oil and two gas wells producing.
“Owing to this showing the price of our stock will advance from 10 cents to 25 cents per share in August,” the company declared. The company continued into December with even more enthusiastic ads: “Announcement is made that Well No. 8 had come in with an estimated flow of 80 barrels. Well No. 9 is expected in at any time.”
Wyoming Second Standard stock fell from four cents per share in May, to two and one-half cents in August, to one cent in December 1917. The next year aparently was just as bad. The Chanute, Kansas Daily Tribune reported on the demise of Wyoming Second Standard Oil Company in a receiver’s sale notification of August 10, 1920, “at the hour of 10 o’clock a.m., of said day, at the west courthouse door, in Erie, in the county and state aforesaid, offer at public sale, and sell to the highest bidder.”
Learn about Wyoming petroleum history in First Wyoming Oil Wells.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2019 Bruce A. Wells.