Chances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks – in progress “N” will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, which 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.”
Nanticoke Oil Company
Incorporated in 1901, Nanticoke Oil Company was harshly reviewed in June of that year by United States Investor as being overcapitalized ($500,000) while claiming to have 20 acres in California’s Sunset district. “But whether it owns it in fee simple or by lease, Holleman & Rippey (agents) refuse to state,” the financial publication noted. “In fact, they refused to give any information whatsoever about the company…We consider the stock a very poor gamble.”
Nanticoke Oil Company was noted by the Los Angeles Herald to be “rigging a well” in the McKitterick-Sunset field, although the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has no record of a well actually drilled.
On April 29, 1905, United States Investor affirmed its earlier evaluation: “When both Bernalilio and Nanticoke oil companies were bought out, we reported adversely on them and intimated that it was very doubtful if anything would ever come of them. Nothing has been heard of these companies for some time, and the supposition is that they have found their just end – oblivion. The stocks have no market value, and intrinsically they are not believed to be worth more than the paper they are printed on.”
National Consolidated Oil Company
In its August 20, 1921, issue, United States Investor assessed the value of National Consolidated Oil stock, noting “There have been during recent months quotations in the neighborhood of five cents per share.”
The publication reported National Consolidated Oil was combining several companies, including Pleasant Grove Royalty Syndicate, Toyah-Bell Oil, Oklahoma Texas Petroleum Products, Garrison Coal & Oil, Progressive Lease Syndicate, and Manhattan Consolidated Petroleum.
The newly consolidated organization incorporated in Delaware on September 19, 1921, and operated out of Fort Worth, Texas. Capitalization was $10 million. According to Oil Weekly, by March 1922 the company had drilled one dry hole (No. 1 Nussbaum) and was down to 2,960 foot depth on its second well (No. 1 Coleman) near Streetman in Texas’ Freestone County.
Oil Weekly reported that by April 15, the No. 1 Coleman well had to be “fished” at about 3,400 feet deep (read about the technology in Fishing in Petroleum Wells). Afterwards, little drilling or financial records remain about National Consolidated Oil or its stock certificates.
National Energy Corporation
National Energy Corporation stock CUSIP (Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures) No. 635809106 was identified as a “Non-Transferable Securities Certificates” authorized for destruction by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004.
The Depository Trust Company (DTC) destroyed certificates “representing positions in securities for which transfer agent services are no longer available, called ‘Non-Transferable Securities Certificates.’ The Destruction of Non-Transferable Securities Certificates Program was introduced to address the costs and risk relating to the increasing percentage of non-transferable physical certificates in the depository’s vault.
National Oil Company (Noco Petroleum Company, North American Oil Company)
National Oil Company of Oklahoma incorporated in Delaware on August 22, 1916, with capitalization of $15,000,000. News about the 1915 discovery of the Kansas Mid-Continent field helped attracted investors to the new venture, which soon had producing properties in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. The company prospered and paid dividends to investors.
However, National Oil’s petroleum production eventually diminished to about 1,500 barrels of oil a day. A decline in oil prices forced the company to reorganize as Noco Petroleum in November 1919.
The trade journal Oil & Gas News reported the new Noco Petroleum Company would declare a 5 percent dividend to shareholders in May 1920, but one year later a review by United States Investor noted, “we do not consider it as having attained yet those characteristics which appeal to the investor.”
The United States Investor assessment proved prophetic, as on September 15, 1922, Noco Petroleum merged with nine other companies to form North American Oil Company.
For Noco Petroleum stockholders, the exchange basis was five preferred shares or two common shares for one share of the new North American Oil Company. North American Oil began trading on the New York Curb Market on November 23, 1923, but chaos ensued and the governing committee of the exchange intervened to suspend the company. North American Oil was “stricken from the stock list” on January 15, 1924, and litigation began. William A. Foster was soon charged with financial crimes.
Subsequent testimony before a New York court described fictitious transactions, “published upon the New York Stock Exchange as purchases and sales of stock of the North American Oil Co., a corporation, pretended purchases and sales whereby no actual ownership and interest of such stock was there.”
On April 30, 1924, “verdict of a jury convicting him (W.A. Foster) of feloniously causing to be reported fictitious transactions in securities.” Subsequent appeals failed. By 1924, Moody’s Industrial Manual had “no recent information” to report on National Oil Company, Noco Petroleum, or North American Oil Company. Some collectors value the obsolete stock certificates from these long-forgotten companies.
National Oil Company of New Jersey (New National Oil Company of Delaware)
National Oil Company of New Jersey originally formed in August 1910 as a holding company with multiple subsidiaries, including shipping as well as oil exploration drilling operations in Texas and Louisiana. The subsidiary National Oil Company of Mexico (formerly Cie Exploradora Del Petroleo) held title to about 36,000 acres of oil-producing land as well as a tidewater terminal and other facilities on the Panuco River near Tampico, Mexico.
The leases on La Herradura and Los Chijoles came under attack during Mexico’s turbulent revolutionary period. On April 17, 1914, Constitutionalist Army forces raided, appropriated livestock and equipment, and forced the company to abandon an uncapped well reportedly producing 30,000 barrels of oil a day. Company workers returned 30 days later, but negotiations with the Mexican government over damages would last for decades.
In the intervening years, National Oil Company of New Jersey continued to operate in Mexico and was reported still solvent in both 1919 and 1920. Moody’s Analyses of Investments gave the company’s New York Curb Market dividend-paying preferred stock a “Caa” rating: “Bought for possible appreciation, such a stock may in time become a satisfactory investment, but the purchaser should always realize that he is taking a considerable chance in buying issues of this class.” The company’s common stock did not pay dividends and earned the lesser and more speculative “C” rating.
By May 15, 1922, owing to default on debt and “the depressed condition of shipping and readjustment in the oil business,” National Oil Company of New Jersey was placed into receivership by a New Jersey Federal District Court. The bankruptcy included the Panuco River terminal and oil properties in Mexico. John F. Penrose, former president of the failed company, was appointed as an ancillary receiver, “in subordination to a foreign receiver for the purpose of collecting and taking charge of the assets of the insolvent corporation.”
The receivers took charge and incorporated a New National Oil Company of Delaware on April 20, 1923, in order to acquire the Mexican properties of the bankrupt National Oil Company of New Jersey. They created the new company and issued 600,000 shares (Preferred) and 1,000,000 (Common) as well bonds.
As executing the receivership ground, in September 1923, the United States and Mexico agreed to the creation of a Special Claims Commission to litigate “claims which arose during the revolutions and disturbed conditions in Mexico from November 20, 1910, to May 31, 1920, due to the acts of certain specified forces, including bandits, provided in any case it was established that the appropriate authorities omitted to take reasonable measure to suppress the bandits or treated them with lenity.”
Former receivers Penrose and Thomas D. Wickham presented their claim to the Commission as “a majority of the surviving directors and trustees” from the now defunct National Oil Company of New Jersey. Their initial claim was for $1,880,050 for the successor company, the New National Oil Company of Delaware for the loss of 900,000 barrels of oil as well as equipment and livestock during the Mexican Revolution.
During next ten years of negotiations between Mexico and the United States, the receivers reduced the the New National Oil Company of Delaware’s final claim to $573,854.59 on December 31, 1937.
The Special Claims Commission took small notice of New National Oil Company of Delaware: “The Commission does not find that it is incumbent upon it to determine the validity of the assignment and therefore considers the claim as one on behalf of the National Oil Company, a New Jersey corporation.”
After reviewing the evidence, the Commission dismissed all but $11,400 of the $573,854.59 claim. Five more years of litigation followed.
Negotiations between the United States and Mexico continued until a November 19, 1941, agreement to settle with an “en bloc” (lump sum) payment of $40,000,000 as described in the 769-page tome: General Claims Commission, Convention of September 8, 1923, (United Mexican States, United States of America) 4 February 1926 – 23 July 1927 VOLUME IV pp. 1-769
What became of National Oil Company of Delaware’s $11,400 remains obscured by history, but today, the company’s obsolete stock certificates are valued by some collectors and its history by others.
National Oil Refining and Manufacturing Company
California entrepreneur George Calhoun organized the National Oil Refining and Manufacturing Company in 1901 with capitalization of $1 million.
Calhoun’s company was to refine oil into gasoline, kerosene and a variety of lubricating oils, as well as “road oil” and asphalt. (All products of growing importance as Americans began buying automobiles, see Cantankerous Combustion and Asphalt Paves the Way.)
Newspaper ads promoted stock sales, proclaiming “Fortunes in Asphaltum” and that each 10-cent share of stock, “will positively advance to 15 cents per share.”
After building a refinery in Bakersfield in 1904, the company manufactured Black Eagle asphalt and lubricating oils branded as Golden State, Pioneer and Superior. The plant had the capacity to produce 1,200 tons of asphalt monthly, but securing enough oil to refine became problematic and led to extended contract litigation. George Calhoun died in August 1920. His company left few records.
National Petroleum Company
The National Petroleum Company was incorporated in 1917, capitalized at $500,000 with stock par value set at 10 cents by the company, whose officers included four gentlemen named Stablein, Wiswell, Ringle and Thomson. National Petroleum Company’s registration with Montana regulators expired in 1957.
National Petroleum Lease Corporation
In July 1961, Mark M. Weiss was president of National Petroleum Lease Corporation and published a promotional brochure entitled, “How to Lease Your Way to Wealth and Security; A Second Income From Oil Can End Your Toil!”
Weiss’ business model was built on recent oil discoveries and excitement in New Mexico. National Petroleum Lease Corporation aimed to acquire large New Mexico oil and natural gas leases at auction and then profit by subdividing and selling off 40 acre lots. As the discoveries extended, all the investors had to do was for oil companies to rush in. (See First New Mexico Oil Wells and other AOGHS articles describing similar venture capitalist efforts.)
But the Securities and Exchange Commission took notice when investor complaints began to accumulate. In March 1963, the company was reported to be in “violation of the Securities Act registration requirement in the offer and sale of investment contracts, consisting of assignments of oil and gas leases on tracts of land situated in certain counties in New Mexico, coupled with contemporaneous representations and undertakings concerning development of said tracts.”
The SEC enjoined the company to desist, which it promptly did, but Weiss was charged by the state of Ohio with fraud.
Weiss’ had acquired 82,000 acres of government-owned land for 22 cents an acre described as having “little chance of yielding oil.” He sold 40-acre packages for $10 an acre, allegedly netting $365,000 from the scheme. By September 1963, Weiss was fighting extradition to Ohio; his “oil can end your toil” company was effectively defunct.
New England Petroleum Company
By 2012, thanks to new drilling technologies and discoveries of “tight oil” shale in the Bakken Formation and the Williston Basin, North Dakota ranked second only to Texas in oil production. In 1916, it had none.
The New England Petroleum Company formed in Reading, Massachusetts, on August 8, 1916, with capitalization of only $10,000. The new venture was paid $520 by the town for “oiling streets.”
Records do not disclose what incentive brought New England Petroleum west to explore for oil in North Dakota, but by January 1919, the North Dakota “Blue Sky” Commission approved the company “to prospect, and bore” for oil (also see Wyoming-Dakota Oil Company).
New England Petroleum Company was one of the first to submit scientific samples for further study to the new North Dakota State Geological Survey. Many exploration ventures received such help from the survey as the state encouraged the search for petroleum resources.
However, New England Petroleum was either unable to obtain sufficient capital to begin operations or was convinced by geologists to look elsewhere. In either case, North Dakota would have to wait for its first commercially successful well until 1951, when the Clarence Iverson No. 1 well began producing about 240 barrels of oil a day.
New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate
Somerset, Texas, was a quiet farming community about 15 miles southwest of San Antonio on the Artesian Belt railroad line in 1913, when one of its founders, Carl Kurz, discovered oil while drilling for water (similar to a Corsicana well that in 1894 launched the first Texas oil boom).
The Somerset oilfield was found to extend Somerset south of Pleasanton and would become known as “the largest known shallow field in the world at that time.” The New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate was one of many ventures to seek oil in the Somerset field.
Springfield, Massachusetts, is almost 2,000 miles from Somerset. Records do not explain why a group of enterprising Springfield businessmen chose to form a company and pursue oil wealth in Texas. Part of their incentive may have been the Sarah Smith No. 1 well, owned by W.C. Steubing.
Drilling began on the Sarah Smith No. 1 site two miles southeast of Somerset on Sept 30, 1918, but three months later, the rotary drilling rig had reached a total depth of 1,688 foot without finding oil.
New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate incorporated in Massachusetts with capitalization of $1 million and 200,000 shares of its stock with a nominal par value of $5. The April 18, 1921, issue of Oil Paint and Drug Reporter noted, “It is announced by Judge M. L. Barr, of Springfield, Mass., who recently arrived here to direct the oil operations of the New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate in the Somerset field, adjacent to San Antonio, that the company will proceed immediately to drill 100 wells on its leases.”
The article noted company holdings of “330 acres from Glasscock Leasing Co., Clover Leaf Oil Co. and others.” The company was also reported to have 100 acres near Fort Stockton and 30,000 acres of unexplored leases in Llano and Mason counties.
In Northampton, Massachusetts, more than 75 percent of shareholders were present personally or by proxy to elect their board of trustees for the company: Frederick L. Haskins,Thomas Brooks, and James E. Ryan.
The Petroleum Age trade publication added that New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate trustee Frederick L. Haskins, “has taken over a considerable acreage in Somerset, and has announced that in addition to developing the shallow oil, a deep test will be started as soon as a contract can be made.”
The Somerset oilfield had nearly 300 shallow wells producing about 2,500 barrels of high-gravity crude oil daily. But in January 1922, the United States Investor reported trouble for New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate. “We have seen nothing lately on this company and believe that very little market exists for the stock, as is the case of so many companies which have arisen within a year or two.”
Although the syndicate prepared to drill a Sarah Smith No. 2 well near the original W. C. Steubing site, progress was slow. For several months, the newspaper “Oil Weekly” tracked the well’s status, but apparently nothing happened beyond erecting a derrick. Records at the Texas Railroad Commission and the Massachusetts Corporations Division might have more details about New England-Texas Oil Refining Syndicate and its fate.
New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields Inc. (W & K Oil Company)
New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields Inc. was organized under the laws of the state of Delaware in 1916, with an authorized capital stock of $2,000,000, divided into 2,000,000 shares of the par value of $1 each. By 1920, the company had drilled its first well South of Prospertown, N.J. The well was abandoned as a dry hole at about 1,700 feet deep, but the company persevered and moved on to another site near Jackson Mills.
Between 1920 and 1921, New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields stock sold for $1.17 to $1.74 per share as the company pursued oil where none had ever found it. New Jersey’s state geologist had warned, “All drilling for oil here is extremely speculative and should be undertaken only by those who fully understand the hazards of the game and can afford to lose their entire venture.”
New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields Company began their second attempt on October 21,1920. The company drilled for about a year on the Jackson Mills well before the bit jammed at 2,200 feet deep and the well had to be abandoned. And New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields Company was out of money (also see Fake New Jersey Oil Well).
W & K Oil Company took over the remains of New Jersey Oil & Gas Fields Company and, apparently still confident in the drill site, moved the rig about 75 feet and began drilling again. At a depth of 5,022 feet, this well also was lost to a common drilling hazard, tools stuck in the borehole (learn more in Fishing in Petroleum Wells).
In 1930, the company abandoned its New Jersey oil exploration. Trade publications noted the departure: “For ten years W & K Oil Co., whose backers have never been disclosed, has been drilling for oil in New Jersey. Last week, after having spent $3,000,000 in this wild crude chase, W & K crated its equipment, shipped it to the richer fields of Texas.”
New York Oklahoma Oil Company (Morton Petroleum)
New York Oklahoma Oil Company was incorporated June 11, 1914, in Maine and owned leases on 700 acres near Muskogee, Oklahoma. By 1917, company holdings had reached 2,090 acres and it was paying dividends to investors.
New York Oklahoma Oil Company operated out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and continued to do so after its March 18, 1920, acquisition by Morton Petroleum. President of Morton Petroleum Company was A.D. Morton with Allan A. Ryan as vice-president and chairman of the board. Morton and Ryan were also associated through Ryan Petroleum Corp.
Another New York Oklahoma Oil Company was incorporated in Delaware and heavily promoted by J.M. Devere & Company. This company earned criticism from The Financial World for its “great promises” and left little behind.
Newfield Gas & Oil Company
Newfield Gas and Oil Company originally organized under South Dakota law as the Empire State Gas & Petroleum Company in 1917, was renamed as the Rochester Oil Company in 1919, and then renamed again as the Newfield Gas & Oil Company in 1920. The company also went by Newfield Oil & Gas instead of Newfield Gas & Oil.
Licensed to do business in New York, the exploration company held leases on 4,699 acres and with $85,000 in stock sales, drilled six producing gas wells in Livingston County within two miles of Dansville. Newfield Oil & Gas built a two-mile pipeline to supply its natural gas to the Dansville Gas and Electric Company and other customers.
But by June 1922, the Company’s cash assets were down to $380 with debts of over $12,000. In February 1923 the company ran afoul of Rochester’s public service commissioner, who publicly chastised company president and principle stockholder J.J. Leighton.
“I don’t want any more references to the Public Service Commission used for the purpose of selling stock in this company,” the commissioner proclaimed. Defending his failing company, Leighton later replied, “That was the only way we had to do business; to get our money to develop the property with.”
Nordon Corporation was a Canadian company formed in 1929 with five million shares of stock. Its purpose was to invest in oil leases and royalties rather than to drill for oil. Nordon offered 450,000 of shares to the public at $3 each. It also traded 1.5 million shares for leases on 24,000 acres of potential production, plus another 76,800 acres already generating royalty revenue.
On April 25, 1930, the company reincorporated as Nordon Oil Corporation with holdings in both the United States and Canada. The former stock was exchanged with the new “share for share” but sold for less that a dollar per share by the end of the year, according to an Ottawa Citizen article on December 3, 1930.
In the ensuing years, Nordon operations moved to Oklahoma City. George Platt became CEO in 1966, beginning a convoluted path for the company ultimately described in The First Junk Bond: A Story of Corporate Boom and Bust, published in 2002.
By 1967, Nordon had expanded into “acquiring and developing oil and gas properties and drilling for, producing, and selling crude oil and natural gas,” noted the Securities and Exchange Commission’s News Digest of September 18, 1967. The company acquired J.C. Trahan Inc. of Shreveport, Louisiana, for $17 million in Nordon stock, which added interests in 900 wells to Nordon’s original eight wells.
The company continued with an aggressive growth strategy and became an oil and natural gas producer. In 1970 Nordon changed its name to Texas International Petroleum Company. Complex debt management and financing led Texas International Petroleum as it responded to oil markets, prices and opportunities.
Securities and Exchange Commission documents record name changes as the original 1929 Canadian Nordon Corporation, Ltd. continued to evolve through mergers. In 1972, Texas International Petroleum became Texas International Company. After having lost money in 12 of 13 years, Texas International emerged from bankruptcy to become the Phoenix Resource Companies in 1990.
In 1996, Phoenix was acquired by Apache Corporation (Oklahoma’s third largest gas producer at the time) for $396 million. Shareholders received “three-quarters of an Apache share plus $4 in cash for each Phoenix share.”
North Coast Oil & Refining Company
North Coast Oil and Refining Company drilled its first well along the California coast, just north of Crescent City in 1921. At a depth of 832 feet, the borehole collapsed and the well was lost. The company notified the California oil and gas supervisor in San Francisco that it was “skidding” the cable-tool rig “58 feet east” and drilling a new hole.
The second well reached a depth of 1,240 feet before work was suspended and the well abandoned in December 1922. No further drilling was undertaken before the company went out of business circa 1926. Former President Richard Hansen advised the state supervisor that each stockholder, “received a few cents per share return on his stock at the time of the dissolution of the company, which dividend was obtained from the sale of the salvaged material.”
Northern Oil Company
Northern Oil Company was one of several failed oil exploration ventures of a woman wildcatter who would not give up. In 1938 Stella Dysart acquired 800,000 shares of the struggling company for $30,000 and hoped to change its luck.
But Dysart found no oil and ended up in court when sued by investors. Available online is a transcript from the United States Circuit Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) No. 9576 that determined her liability. See Mrs. Dysart’s Uranium Well for more on her adventures – and eventual success.
In 1933 Jonas Johnson and William LeSage operated gasoline filling stations in Hibbing and Virginia, Minnesota, before they pooled their interests and created the Northwest Petroleum Company. They leased their properties to Zenith Petroleum Company but soon became dissatisfied with the “upkeep, sales, and personnel.”
Zenith was a troubled company and went into receivership, precipitating lawsuits that embroiled Barnsdall Refining Corporation (provider of gasoline to the filling stations) as well as Northwest Petroleum Company. Johnson ultimately bought out his partner LeSage and changed the company’s name to Range Ice & Fuel Company. The filling stations in Minnesota became part of the new company and distributed ice and fuel.
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 email@example.com. © 2019 Bruce A. Wells.