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J.C. (James Carl) Anderson (born 1930) left his Nebraska home to study petroleum engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s. A rapid rise through the ranks at Amoco to chief engineer for Canada brought him to Calgary in January 1966. He added Canadian citizenship to his U.S. papers, and by August 1968 had moved on to found Anderson Exploration Ltd., which was funded on a joint venture and share equity basis with a combination of individual investors and publicly-traded corporate investors.The scale of Anderson's accomplishment showed on Sept. 4, when Devon Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City paid US$3.4 billion to buy the Calgary firm he built from scratch and led to the end.
Excited by exploration, this visionary in natural gas was responsible for one of the largest finds in Alberta gas history, the vast Dunvegan field. J.C. negotiated a major exploration area gas purchase contract with a unique interest-free development loan of one cent per thousand cubic feet of gas discovered. The development loan paid in at $11.2 million when the field was measured at 1.12 trillion cubic feet of gas.
J.C. was one of the first to see the promising fundamentals of natural gas as a source of energy. With great ingenuity, he built Anderson Exploration into one of Canada's top 10 oil and gas producers, the lure that attracted Devon. Operations stretched from the Beaufort Sea across Western Canada to Manitoba. There were 990 permanent employees and projected 2001 capital expenditures of $992 million. Production exceeded 800 MMcf/d of gas and 72,000 bbl/d of liquids. Holding 1.3 million acres, Anderson was the largest owner of exploration rights in the Mackenzie Delta-Beaufort Sea region.
Late in 2000 Anderson participated in the first exploratory well drilled on the Mackenzie Delta in 20 years, upholding its reputation as a pioneer. With the year prior to the Devon transaction, J.C. also completed two major corporate acquisitions, each in the billion-dollar range.
The father of twin daughters and two sons, Anderson received the Milner-Fenerty Pinnacle Award in 1994; two years later he was Prairies Region Master Entrepreneur of the Year; and this year he received the Stanley Slipper Award from the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.