Sawyer Petroleum Company was formed by Ernest Walker Sawyer, a millionaire hotel developer and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior.

The company was active in Beaverhead County, Montana, in the 1960s. It partnered with the Union Pacific Railroad Company in pursuit of rare-earth minerals (radioactive thorite) in the Lemhi Pass district, part of the Bitterroot Range in the Rocky Mountains.

The company’s name changed to Sawyer-Adecor International in the 1970s. In March 1997 the company was renamed again as Oil Retrieval Systems, Inc.

The newly named company reportedly was in the business of manufacturing and distributing portable swabbing units to the oil and natural gas industry.

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission records Oil Retrieval Systems Inc. as a dissolved Arizona corporation, having not filed any required periodic reports since 1996.

Sawyer Petroleum Company stock certificates sell on eBay for about $10.

The company is not related to Sawyer Petroleum Inc., founded in 1948 and today a distributor of fuels from refiners to the greater Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in California. 

In 1990, at age 71, Ernest Walker Sawyer entered the Alaska gubernatorial race “under the banner of the extremist Alaska Independence Party – a party that advocates the 49th state’s peaceful secession from the Union,” according to Ernest Walker Sawyer and Alaska: The Dilemma of Northern Economic Development, by Terrence M. Cole, in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 42-50.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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