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Dr. Charles R. Stelck
University of Alberta professor and scientist Dr. Charles R. Stelck played a unique role in Canada's petroleum industry; he not only explored for oil during the tumultuous times of World War II, but he was also an integral part of the Faculty of Geology at the University of Alberta, teaching hundreds of future oil hunters the secrets of the sub-surface world.
Dr. Stelck's first job in the oil patch was sitting on the old Pouce Coupe well in northeastern B.C., which was then called the Commotion Creek Wildcat. His next assignment was with the Canol Project, which involved exploring for oil around the original 1920 discovery in the arctic. The oil was piped to the Whitehorse refinery for the purpose of supplying the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Stelck, who was working for the U.S. military and Imperial Oil at the time, referred to the Canol Project as "an unsinkable tanker." Dr. Stelck began has life's work as an educator at the University of Alberta following the war.
He turned out over 100 learned publications in his decades-long career at the university, and more recently sat on a committee dealing with nine doctoral and over 40 masters candidates. In addition to his work at the university, Dr. Stelck served on the Alberta Research Council representing the geological sector. During his years as an educator and researcher, Dr. Stelck emphasized micropaleontology-identifying 40,000 species in Alberta. He never withheld any of this knowledge from industry.
"We are all seekers of oil," he said.
Dr. Stelck's legacy can be seen in the hundreds of University of Alberta geology graduates hunting for oil and gas today around the globe. Indirectly, through his many students, he has increased Canadian oil and reserves significantly.