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Merv D. Stewart


A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Merv D. Stewart was born in January, 1924. He earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Alberta in 1947, and began working as a chemist, before joining Dowell in 1949. At Dowell, Stewart worked in oilfield acidizing, cementing, and Dowell's Baker Oil Tools division.


Promoted to service engineer by Dowell in 1950, he was transferred by the company to Calgary in 1952 to serve as sales and area manager for southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.


In 1954, Stewart left Dowell to start Eskimo Fracturing and Well Servicing, a company that designed and built specialized equipment, materials and technology to serve the quickly developing Pembina field southwest of Edmonton, where tight cardium sandstones required fracturing to obtain commercial oil production.


Licensed by Pan-Am Petroleum, which held most major "frac" patents of the day, Eskimo Fracturing responded to industry demand by developing new, more powerful pumping units, including massive, remote-controlled, 1,000-horsepower pumping units; special blenders to mix frac fluids and proppants; new frac fluids and chemical additives; and new proppants, including round grain silica sand delivered to the wellsite in bags or special bulk haulers.


Eskimo was also the first to use carbon dioxide fracturing and was instrumental in designing specialized blender units that could provide very high-rate services and variable ratios of fluid and sand.


Stewart sold Eskimo Fracturing to Dresser Industries in 1967. He declined a promotion in Houston offered by Dresser in 1969 in order to pursue business interests outside the oil patch.


Apart from his business pursuits, Stewart has been active in the Edmonton community, serving as president of the Edmonton Petroleum Club in 1963 and president of the Edmonton Opera Society in the early 1970s. He is an active member of the board of both the Royal Glenora Club and the Mayfair Country Club, and was a steady volunteer with the United Way of Edmonton and district throughout the 1960s.


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