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Clayton Howard Riddell


Clayton (Clay) Howard Riddell has been actively involved in the oil and gas industry for more than 55 years and has created a business empire that currently incorporates three public companies with a combined enterprise value of about $6 billion.


A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. in geology, Clay began his career as an exploration geologist with The Standard Oil Company of California in 1959. He left after 10 years to start his own business, C.H. Riddell Geological Consultants Ltd. In 1971 he incorporated Paramount Oil & Gas Ltd. as a private oil and gas company and took that company's assets public in 1978, as Paramount Resources Ltd., concurrently raising $5 million on the Alberta Stock Exchange.


In the years since, Clay has created two related spin-out entities, Trilogy Energy and Perpetual Energy, which are currently headed by Clay's children, James Riddell and Susan Riddell Rose, respectively.


Clay's early exploration success was centred around shallow gas in northeastern Alberta. By fine-tuning the application of air drilling technology in low-pressure gas reservoirs, Paramount recorded several large discoveries—its Liege field alone contains an estimated 1.1 tcf of gas in place.


By 1982, enough of a "critical mass" of gas had been proven to allow Paramount to make the shipper commitments needed by NOVA to extend its transportation system to the area with the Liege Lateral—known more intimately as "the line that Clay built."


Even as the Liege volumes were being established, Clay pioneered a second major shallow gas play in northeastern Alberta, involving the discovery of gas at Chard, which has produced more than 250 bcf since 1982.


But Clay didn't let his gaze north stop in Alberta. Over the years, he has directed Paramount's activities into the Northwest Territories, where reserves and, in some cases production, have been established; in the Liard Basin; in the Cameron Hills region; at Colville Lake near the Arctic Circle; and in the Mackenzie Delta.


Beyond taking an active leadership role in various industry organizations, Clay has an extensive philanthropic resume, which has resulted in the creation of the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba, the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management at Carlton University, and the Riddell Library and Learning Centre at Calgary's Mount Royal University.


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