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Oil industry veteran Arlen Edgar passes away

From philanthropic foundations to education to the environment to his church, Arlen Edgar’s civic interests were as broad as his interest in the oil and gas industry.

The long-time Midlander, a Stephenville native, passed away Tuesday.

“Arlen Edgar was a gentlemen. We were fortunate to benefit from his leadership and wisdom for 28 years. We grieve his passing and celebrate a life well-lived,” Mark Palmer, executive director of the Abell-Hanger Foundation, where Edgar served as a trustee emeritus, told the Reporter-Telegram by email.

Edgar was inducted into the Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2019. Kathy Shannon, executive director of the Petroleum Museum, commented to the Reporter-Telegram by email, “He will be greatly missed. Arlen was a wealth of information, from Midland history to the intricacies of the petroleum industry. We are honored to host the Arlen Edgar Distinguished Lecture series at the Museum, to recognize all his remarkable contributions to our community. Arlen was also a very deserving inductee of the Petroleum Hall of Fame. Yes, he will be greatly missed.”

Among his many honors – including the Hearst Energy Award for Lifetime Achievement – was the Top Hand award from the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, presented in 2004.

“I am greatly saddened to hear of the passing of our good friend Arlen,” Ben Shepperd, president of the PBPA, told the Reporter-Telegram by email. “Arlen was a kind, gracious man and a friend to everyone. A former PBPA Top Hand, Arlen made a tremendous impact on the Permian Basin oil and gas industry and everyone he met.

Edgar grew up in Stephenville on the fringes of fabled oilfields at Desdemona and Ranger. His nearness to those oilfields piqued his interest in the industry, he told the Reporter-Telegram when he was receiving the Hearst Energy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

After receiving an associate’s degree in engineering from Tarleton State College and a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, he began his oilfield career with Pan American Petroleum, moving from Pan American’s Odessa office to its Midland office to serve as junior and then intermediate engineer.

“I’ve often thought that if I hadn’t gone into oil and gas, I would have gone into mining. I like the idea of getting something from the ground and creating value from it.”

He left for Fort Worth after three years in Midland and joined Leibrock, Landreth, Campbell and Callaway, a consulting engineering firm he described as comprised of partners who were entrepreneurs and anxious to start a company in the energy chemicals field. He stayed there six years and also served as secretary and a director of Kanata Exploration, a Canadian production company and Offshore Exploration Co., which explored for oil and gas in south Louisiana.

In 1967 he joined Tipperary Land and Exploration when it was formed by Bob Landreth Sr., where he divided his time between the US and Australia. Tipperary was involved in cattle, shrimp farming and hard minerals and “no oil,” he recalled. After four years with Tipperary, he joined Western States Producing Co. as general manager of the San Antonio company’s Midland office. He finished his oilfield career as an independent investor and consultant.


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2021-06-15 21:58:20

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