[for an article on "Hame", from the August 1982 The Roughneck magazine, click here.]
Involvement in the Oil Industry
Hame came to Lloydminster in November of 1948 to work at the Husky Refinery. He had graduated that spring, from the University of Saskatchewan, with an Engineering degree. At that point, Hame's only experience in the oil business was working at a small refinery in Rosetown during his university summers.
In 1948 the refinery was operational, but still building. Husky also operated a small cleaning plant in the Borradaile area, just a few miles east of Vermilion, which was involved in topping crude and selling the subsequent product to the railways.
With a market for producers in the Lloydminster area more or less established by the refinery, a number of small oil syndicates had developed and were drilling wells, completing them and selling the product to the refinery.
In November 1950 Hame went to work on the army camp in Wainwright and spent one year there. In November 1951 he returned to Lloydminster and to Husky where he had been offered a job as a surveyor in the Production Department. His surveying activities during the first two or three years took him all over the country.
In 1951, Husky was in the midst of a 100 well program, known as the SCC program, in the Lloydminster area. The money was put up by S. C. Clark, the big thread manufacturer and was essentially what was in later times known as a drilling fund. For the purposes of the drilling program, Husky had put together a fleet of six company-owned drilling rigs.
In those days in Lloydminster, service rigs along with the drilling rigs, worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was not unusual to conduct major workovers on Saturdays and Sundays.
During the period from 1951 to about 1955, the number of staff in the Production Department in Lloydminster grew by leaps and bounds. Hame's surveying career terminated in 1954 when, upon his request, he was reassigned as a production engineer. When he joined the production group, there were already a number of experimental projects going on. They had recognized that they had to develop some way of improving the production from the wells. During this experimental period Hame was assigned to bird dogging each of the installations and spent many hours daily plotting production on graphs to see if there were any encouraging trends developing.
In 1955 Hame was promoted to the position of Production Foreman. At that time, there was no development activity to speak of because markets were still very tight. However, during this period Glenn E. Nielsen the founder and then president of Husky had the tremendous foresight to put together a deal involving CPR lands in the Lloydminster area. Eventually, this put Husky in the driver’s seat when black oil came into its own. This deal involved millions of acres of mineral rights and consequently turned Husky into the major player in the Lloydminster area.
In 1961, rumor became fact, they were indeed going to start the Lloydminster project. During the latter part of the 1950's, Husky had been quite active in conducting a fairly extensive core hole program in the area. Literally hundreds of these core holes were drilled in preparation for the Lloydminster project. This was the dream that Husky had envisioned for many years, that of a pipeline extending from Lloydminster to the Interprovincial Pipeline System to the south which would carry the black oil from the Lloydminster area to the newly found markets in the north central U.S.
In the spring of 1962 representatives from Williams Brothers Pipeline Company arrived on the scene. They were here to set up a test pipeline system behind Husky's Lloydminster refinery and monitor the operation during a set of summer conditions. They designed and built a system of various sized lines, pressure test points, temperature test points, and as well, a manifolding system which would permit the blending of various percentage blends of condensate versus native crude along with the ability to inject these new blends into the line. In January of 1963, the winter series of tests were started by Hame and the Production Foreman, Norman Keeley.
Construction of the original line from Lloydminster to Hardisty commenced in 1963. The line consisted of one 6 inch diameter line which was termed the "yo-yo" line because the original plan called for it to be used for two-way service. Although the yo-yo line was a workable system, it was cumbersome and it was not too long before the decision was made to run a separate line south to handle condensate return from Hardisty and utilize the 6" line already in place for blend purposes only.
With the advent of a working pipeline system which would deliver crude oil blend from Lloydminster to the markets to the south, things really started to heat up in the Heavy Oil patch. Husky carried out extensive drilling programs, in the neighborhood of 200 - 300 each year. In addition to the high level of drilling activity, the first signs of interest in secondary recovery methods started to emerge. Husky became enamored with a type of water flooding which was all the rage in the U.S. at the time. In 1964, they had their first indications of interest in thermal recovery. That year they also commenced drilling some pattern wells in the Dulwich area and constructed the first steam plant in Lloydminster. Steam flooding was in its infancy in Canada when Husky jumped into it in Lloydminster. Husky also installed the first horizontal treater employed in the Lloydminster area at Dulwich.
In 1965 things really look off. Markets for the heavy crude south of the border were excellent. Husky's first battery at Aberfeldy was constructed and put into operation and a total of four more steams plants complete with attendant batteries and treaters were constructed in the McLaren area to the east of Lloydminster and in the Aberfeldy area northeast of Lloydminster.
From 1965 through to 1970 numerous new batteries were built in the Lloydminster area by Husky. As the pipeline capacities increased and new markets were added, the push to get more oil from existing wells became a shove. Waterfloods were initiated in almost all areas, as that was considered the way to go at that time. Along with waterflooding came the inevitable experimenting with various types of bottom hole pumps and lifting mechanisms.
In 1967 Husky commenced a deep hole program in the general Lloydminster area. Wells were drilled all the way from north of the river through to the Wainwright area and although some shows were found, nothing significant ever developed from the program.
The years from '68 on, although busy, were certainly less eventful. Lloydminster has always been a hotbed of experimental work. However, from '71 on Hame was more closely associated with primary production.
In 1973 Hame joined Murphy Oil as District Production Manager. He retired on October 31, 1986.
Hame and his wife, Anne, have four children; three sons and a daughter. Hamish enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, carpentry and model aircraft construction and flying. He was an active member of the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and spent 15 years as a Cubmaster with the Lloydminster Boy Scout Association. He was transportation director for the 1982 Alberta Winter Games and served as chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Petroleum Association.
When Hame arrived in Lloydminster it was a fairly small community. There were virtually no concrete sidewalks with the exception of the downtown area. One of his first recollections is of a cat towing an oil truck down the main drag past the old post office.
Lloydminster, in those early days, was a very difficult place to find accommodation because there was actually a boom on. He also recalls coming in for lunch from the refinery, on foot, and lining up four or five deep behind a stool at a lunch counter in one of the local beaneries.