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Paul Bowlen was born in Minot, North Dakota, on December 2, 1914, and was raised in the ranching area of Southern Alberta. He graduated from Oklahoma University in 1938, earning a degree in Petroleum Engineering.
During the war years, he was drawn to Vermilion, Alberta to drill for heavy oil. In 1943 Paul co-founded Regent Drilling with Lou McCullough, establishing its headquarters in the old Hangar #1 at the Edmonton Municipal Airport.
From its inception, Regent Drilling accepted all drilling challenges: holes for the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) in the Arctic for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, water disposal wells, and, in the 1960s, rigs mounted on railway wheels for close pattern steam injection wells.
Paul was involved in all facets of the energy business,drilling, rig and heavy equipment transportation, exploration, production, as well as pipelining. He was a founding member of the Calgary and the Edmonton Petroleum Clubs, as well as the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC). He played a significant role in the formation of Western Rock Bit Company. Northern Development, Paul's own oil company, played a key role in the discovery of the Harmattan-Elkton Oilfield, and he capitalized on hydrocarbon transportation with another of his companies, Trans Prairie Pipeline (which eventually became part of the Norcen Energy Group).
Paul Bowlen was a man who took real pride in the people who made up the Regent Drilling family. He passed away on October 28, 1984.