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Paul Guthrie was born in Freemont, Michigan in 1904. His family immigrated to Edgerton, Alberta in 1909. At 16, Paul enrolled in gas engineering technical school in Edmonton. In 1925, he started a cable tool water well drilling business with his brother, Vern.
In 1941, he went to work for Northern Development Ltd. as Field Superintendent to manage the operation of two drilling rigs in Lloydminster. When oil was discovered in Leduc, the company moved one rig to drill the first independent oil well in the leduc field "Globe Leduc West Number Two".
Paul joined forces with J. W. Millar of Western Construction, in 1950 to form Paul Guthrie Development, specializing in drilling contracting. Later that year, they formed an exploration company, Liberal Petroleum. Liberal acquired a one-thousand acre reservation near Valleyview, which turned out to be the centre of the South Sturgeon Lake field and Paul Guthrie Development was soon operating four drilling rigs.
In 1958, both companies were sold to Canadian Husky Oil and Paul moved on to pursue his second love - raising Arabian horses.