Idaho Gas Company
Alfred Reginald Schultz, author of Geology and Geography of a Portion of Lincoln County, Wyoming, noted that early trappers and fur traders regularly visited oil springs.
“The first published account of oil in southwestern Wyoming resulted from an examination made by the Mormons in 1847 on their pioneer journey across the great plains, ” he added.
Although the oil from springs in Uinta and Lincoln counties was dark and heavy, its low sulfur content convinced Schultz, “this petroleum is one of the most valuable that I have ever examined.”
Ranchers used the oil as machine oil and it “proved highly satisfactory, ” he added. “It did not rise to the surface, but appeared to drain into the soil that filled the valley; at several points oil was encountered by sinking shallow wells a few feet into this soil.”
Needless to say, this 1914 USGS report inspired independent petroleum companies to drill in southwestern Wyoming. One of them, Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company, drilled an exploratory well that showed sufficient promise to prompt drilling of a second well nearby on the company’s Big Piney lease.
This well number two, called the “Lackey Well, ” in August 1919 produced a gusher from less than 1, 000 feet deep. The well was “a sensation in western Wyoming oil circles” according to the Salt Lake Mining Review.
Unfortunately, Lincoln-Idaho Oil would not be among those to succeed in the Big Piney.
Under company President Thomas Clinton, Lincoln-Idaho spudded its third well and a fourth about six miles south of Kemmerer, Lincoln County, where Clinton maintained an office.
Capitalized at $500, 000, the company was authorized to sell 250, 000 shares of stock. Commissions were limited to 25 percent, but zealous reporting of the company’s drilling success generated enough sales to sustain drilling operations.
“If you want to make some easy money, this is your opportunity, ” declared a newspaper advertisement as the company’s stock sold for 21 cents per share and its crude oil production settled at about 100 barrels a day.
The remoteness of the Big Piney oilfield from any railroad transportation made small production operations like Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company very risky.
“The Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company, the largest operator in the Big Piney field, Lincoln County, will do no more drilling…but will hereafter be classed as a holding company, ” the Oil & Gas News reported in 1921.
An unsuccessful effort to amend the company’s oil prospecting permit in 1922 was litigated until 1925, ending in a judgment for the Department of the Interior and against Lincoln-Idaho Oil. Thereafter, the company disappears, leaving only collectible stock certificates behind.
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