Oil revenues have doubled putting Petrolia Discovery Foundation on better footing

·2 min read

Higher oils prices have improved the bottom line of a Lambton County heritage site.

The Petrolia Discovery Foundation held its annual general meeting on Saturday, May 28 where Chairman Richard Poore noted in his report an increase in the price of oil as well as production has put the organization in a better financial position in 2021 than in the previous year.

Oil production has increased by 20 percent in 2021 to 1,509 barrels, which allowed the organization to double its annual oil income to just under $120,000 from 2020. Oil revenues make up a sizable chunk of the organization’s annual revenues of just over $156,000 compared to just over $134,000 in expenses.

“The board is thankful to be able to contract the services of Mark Reddick and Dan Whiting to work with us in maintaining and improving our oil wells,” said Poore. ‘They have been integral to the improvements and development of our field.”

A $10,000 grant through the Green Leader Program allowed for the refurbishment of the North separator system. This allowed the Discovery Centre to restore and bring back on line three additional oil wells.

The Petrolia Discovery Foundation established a transition board in 2017 to lead the stabilization and preservation of the Discovery Centre. The centre gives a glimpse into the early days of the oil boom that led to the development of Petrolia and Lambton County. There are the first hand-dug wells of the 1850s to the refineries and machine shops at the turn of the 1900s. Visitors also get to see an authentic 1860s oil field in action.

The organization had to adjust its tour dates to be in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions with self-guided tours, which allowed for groups to tour the site while physical distancing. There were 477 people who toured the site in 2021.

The plan is to schedule more open days and other tours. The Discovery Centre will be open for regular hours this season from June to October from Thursday to Saturday, said Poore

The organization depends a great deal on volunteers. The Discovery Centre has 40 volunteers including the board, who have contributed 3,373 hours during the year. He said due to an increased social media and community presence, the board has noticed an increase in the number of groups reaching out to visit the site.

Blake Ellis, The Independent

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