The In­di­ca­tor: 15

Alberta Oil - - OBSERVER -

THAT’S HOW MANY DECADES THE BARNES FAM­ILY

has been pro­duc­ing oil near the site of North Amer­ica’s first com­mer­cial oil well in the vil­lage of Oil Springs, On­tario, dis­cov­ered in 1858. The orig­i­nal dis­cov­ery well still ex­ists to­day, pre­served by the lo­cal Oil Mu­seum of Canada. Ben Barnes and his fa­ther carry on the five-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily legacy; Barnes owns Dou­ble B Well Ser­vices and his fa­ther, Lon­nie, owns the Barnes Oil Com­pany. “I don’t think I could do any­thing else,” the younger Barnes says.

The Barnes fam­ily’s an­ces­tors were black­smiths by trade who moved to Oil Springs dur­ing the boom of the 1860s. They opened a ho­tel for the work­ers and soon owned sev­eral oil wells of their own. Up un­til the 1960s, Barnes’s fa­ther and grand­fa­ther con­tin­ued to work with out­dated tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing wooden der­ricks and pump jacks. It’s a re­minder of how far the oil in­dus­try has come—and how fast. To­day, Cana­dian oil pro­duc­tion is top-of-the-line in ef­fi­ciency, safety and sus­tain­abil­ity. But pro­duc­tion wouldn’t be there with­out the fear­less, and some­times reck­less, in­no­va­tion of early prospec­tors. Hav­ing such a fam­ily her­itage also yields a cru­cial ad­van­tage that other pro­duc­ers must envy—roy­alty-free pro­duc­tion, in ac­cor­dance with On­tario’s min­eral rights laws for landown­ers.

The orig­i­nal three-pole der­ricks used in Oil Springs, On­tario, are a re­minder of the dra­matic ad­vances made in oil tech­nol­ogy over 150 years

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