Chevron Canada’s history in the Fox Creek area of west-central Alberta stretches back more than 50 years. Our roots in the forested foothills region run deep and include the discovery of the largest wet-gas reservoir in Canada, construction of the largest sour gas plant in the world, and strong support for the development of the Town of Fox Creek.
In 1957, California Standard (the forerunner to Chevron Canada) participated in a discovery in the Devonian reef at what’s known as Kaybob North. The field’s southern cousin held more interest for Chevron geologists, however, who believed there was a large reef at Kaybob South. By the mid-1960s, Chevron decided to buy a toe-hold between three competitors.
Although initial Chevron exploration efforts yielded a dry hole, leading some competitors to abandon Kaybob South, company geologists believed they had just missed a reef. Eventually, the company bought almost 2,000 acres of land in the Kaybob South area.
This 1968 acquisition was the heart of a 50-km long field that at the time was the largest wet-gas reservoir discovered in Canada, with estimated reserves of more than four trillion cubic feet of gas. Over the next four years, workers built the Kaybob South Gas Plant near Fox Creek. The plant went on stream in 1972, with Chevron Canada, as operator, holding a 47-percent interest. It was the largest sour gas plant in the world at the time and carried a price tag of $105 million.
The new plant was built on one side of the Athabasca River, while the Town of Fox Creek was situated on the other. To resolve the issue, the company, working with the provincial government, built an $880,000-bridge spanning the river. Chevron also built housing for its employees: 60 bungalows for employees with families and a 24-suite apartment complex for single workers.
While the company helped build the town, our employees helped build a sense of family and community in Fox Creek. The small town allowed families to spend more time together.
“Certainly we have more family unity up here,” said the wife of a Chevron employee after moving to Fox Creek. She described the surroundings as “wholesome.”
Chevron families took to curling at the two-sheet rink, participating in Scouts, Brownies and Girl Guides. Other children pursued their interests in hockey and dance. For the outdoorsmen, ski doing was a major calling. For those who preferred the indoors, the Lions Club hosted movies in the town’s library.
In 2004, Chevron Canada divested its interests in the Kaybob region as part of a strategic sale of the company’s western Canadian conventional oil and natural gas assets. The divestiture would allow Chevron Canada to pursue exploration and development projects offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, in the Alberta oil sands, and in Northern Canada.
In 2009, with a strategic vision to position Chevron for future legacy assets in emerging unconventional resource plays, Chevron Canada returned to the Fox Creek area, making the first of several large land acquisitions that now comprise the company’s Kaybob Duvernay Appraisal Program.
Today, Chevron has a net 70 percent operated interest in approximately 330,000 acres in the liquids-rich Duvernay formation and is the operator under a Joint Operating Agreement for that area with KUFPEC Canada Inc., which holds a net 30 percent interest. KUFPEC Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company.