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This Page: Oil Refining.

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About This Site

Oil Wagon Train in front of the Grand Central Hotel, approx. 1895. Standing in front is George B. McCalmont, Vice-President and Casper Manager for the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Corporation.

In 1894, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Corporation, organized by Phillip Shannon, commenced the construction of a refinery in Casper, capable of refining 100 barrels of lubricant a day. The refinery, however, was razed as a fire hazard. For an example of another small refinery see Lusk . It is doubtful that larger capacity was needed. The oil had to be brought in by wagon from the Salt Creek Field 45 miles away, a two-day trip. The first wagon train came in in 1895.

Casper's original Refinery.

In 1909, the Franco-Wyoming Oil Company was organized by French and Belgian interests under Delaware law. Because of requirement of the Paris Bourse, the stock was controlled by the Trust Francais des Actions de la Franco Wyoming Oil Co.

Casper, Refinery, 1907.

In 1911, a six inch pipeline was constructed by a subsidiary of Franco-Wyoming from Salt Creek to Casper. In 1912, Franco-Wyoming constructed another small refinery having a capacity of 500 barrels a day.

Franco-Wyoming Refinery, Casper

The Franco-Wyoming Refinery was later acquired by the Midwest Oil Company which replaced it with a larger refinery on the future site of the BP Refinery on the Platte River. The demand, however, for petroleum remained scant until the world's major navies converted to oil prior to World War I and the "gas buggy" became popular. To create a demand, Midwest convinced the Chicago and North Western to convert its coal fired steam locomotives to oil. Until those developments, petroleum's value was primarily for lubricants and as a replacement for whale oil in lamps. Indeed, prior to the Civil War, Wyoming petroleum obtained from petroleum springs was mixed with flour and sold as a lubricant for the emigrants' wagons on the Oregon Trail.

Standard Refinery, Casper, undated

It was not until 1910 and 1913, with the development of large fields in Salt Creek, that larger refineries were constructed in Casper by Standard and Midwest. Midwest also constructed a refinery in Greybull, and Producer and Refiners constructed a refinery in its planned community, Parco (now Sinclair).

Standard Refinery, Casper, undated. Photo by Ralph Doubleday.

With the opening of the Big Muddy field near Glenrock in 1916, Ohio built a refinery in Glenrock. The BP and Marathon refineries are gone now, but their legacy remains with the required environmental cleanups and adaptive reuse of the BP land in Casper.

Casper Refineries, 1918

Casper Photos continued on next page.