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Daniel Wilfred Claypool


There are probably as many reasons to nominate someone to the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fameas there are inducted members. Some are there for outstanding individual achievements; some are there because they were instrumental in the birth of the industry; some are there simply on the basis of a long and outstanding career.


Dan Claypool has had a stellar career in the industry—he’s had a hand in discoveries at Bonnie Glen in Alberta and Estevan in Saskatchewan; he’s travelled the globe for Texaco and Imperial Oil working in drilling and production, safety, and environmental in Scotland, Malaysia, and Vietnam; and closer to home on Nova Scotia’s south shore and in Edmonton.


But what brought Dan to the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame as a 2009 inductee wasn’t any of his career achievements. Rather, it is his invaluable commitment to the history and future of the industry that has won him a place in the Hall.


Born on a farm near Beechy, Saskatchewan in 1933, Dan joined his brother haying on ranches in southern Alberta in 1949, but when the snow fell that winter, he was suddenly out of work. Drawn north to Leduc, Dan hooked on as a roughneck with Canada West Drilling, launching a 48-year career that would take him around the world, including a stint as operations manager on Texaco’s Tartan Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea.


Closer to home, Dan worked on the crew that extinguished Texaco’s Pigeon Lake 16–26 blowout in 1954. The control effort was directed by legendary Texas blowout specialist Myron Kinley, who brought a few trainees along for experience that would eventually land them in the upper echelons of that sector. Red Adair, Boots Hanson, and Coots Matthews worked alongside Dan and the rest of his Texaco crew, including Earle Brown, Jim Daley, Buddy Johnson, Don Pearson, and John Spargo to kill the well, which spewed 20,000 barrels of oil and 100 million cubic feet of gas every day for two weeks.


In the late 1980s, Dan joined the Leduc/Devon Oilfield Historical Society and set about working to have the site of Leduc #1 declared a national and provincial historic site. With an army of other volunteers, Dan raised the funds needed to establish the Canadian Petroleum Discovery Centre, which opened in 1997 and which is now the home of the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame—which Dan also helped establish the same year.


Don Hunter, president of the Discovery Centre, says Dan has had a distinguished career in the oil industry—including many major leadership roles—but it is his work preserving the history of the industry and in the community at large that sets him on a higher level.


“I personally believe that in my 70-plus years of living and working in the oilpatch, he is more deserving than most,
especially in championing the oil industry at the Canadian Petroleum Discovery Centre over the past 19 years,” Hunter writes in a letter supporting Dan’s nomination. “And while he has spent so much time working in constant support of the industry, he has been a pillar of leadership in his hometown of Devon. He has been named twice by the town as Man of the Year, and was enormously influential in building a new community centre and seniors’ home.”


Throughout his career and still today, Dan has been an active supporter of Lions International, serving as both its district director and regional director.


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