My belief in the significance of Canadian-headquartered companies goes back to the early 1970s when, as a young engineer, I combined the Canadian subsidiary of a Nebraska-based oil plus gas corporation. While I was handled well and given plentiful duty, I tried to work for a company where the arrangements were made in Calgary, not Omaha. That opening appeared with a new startup that described the Alberta Energy Co. I registered AEC to command the building of the oil and gas organization.
The company developed speedily. But five years next, the entire oil and gas industry was hit a huge kick by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program. It plugged oil prices below world levels and smacked a confiscatory tax on the gross revenues of energy companies.
Canadian-headquartered companies were supposed to advantage from cash grants, as long as we shifted our boring to federally-owned lands. But the greatest of those realms were in the Arctic, where drilling prices were prohibitive, and admittance to pipelines was non-existent.
Later the next national government, the Brian Mulroney-led Conservatives, slaughtered the Trudeau policies in 1985. AEC got back to the occupation of business building. Not long after I became the company’s CEO in 1994, American seizures of Canadian oil and gas companies began accelerating. Having developed AEC into one of the two local energy companies with the biggest market value, rivaled only by PanCanadian Petroleum (a member of the venerable Canadian Pacific group), we managed to dodge that fate. But market intelligence showed we were on the radar of the international multinational majors, the only players with the capability to take us out.