Originally known as Western States Oil Company, Inc., Western Land Services, Inc. was formed in 1974 by T.T. Thompson. A graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School, Mr. Thompson worked as a Division Landman with Shell Oil Company for 19 years, prior to forming Western States Oil Company.
During the 1970s and early 1980s and under the direction of Mr. Thompson, Western States Oil Company focused primarily on oil and gas prospect generation in the State of Michigan. The Niagaran formation, a noteworthy oil and gas play in Northern Michigan at the time, served as the organizationís hub of activity.
In 1980, John K. Wilson joined the firm as a landman. A graduate of Michigan State Universityís School of Business, Mr. Wilson determinedly worked his way up through the firm to Vice President of Land in 1989, purchased the company in 1992 upon retirement of T.T. Thompson, and soon thereafter changed the name of the company to Western Land Services, Inc.
During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Western Land Services, Inc. developed into a major oil and gas brokerage service company providing regulatory and land services to oil and gas companies and utilities. Significant clients of Western Land Services during these decades included: Unocal, Arco, Gulf Oil, Mark West, Tenneco, CMS Oil & Gas, Chevron, Martin Marietta, Williams Energy, Marathon Oil Company, Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation, Berry Petroleum, Western Gas Resources, and numerous other smaller independents.
During the early to mid-1990ís, Western Land Services, Inc. provided support to Terra Energy, Ltd, the largest developer of Michiganís Antrim Shale Play in Northern Michigan. The Antrim Play involved the drilling of over 7,000 wells, in projects of approximately 25 to 75 wells each, and was the largest natural gas play in the United States at that time. The large number of wells forced companies to find innovative solutions to bring projects on-line quickly, and to deal with land owner concerns caused by extensive surface operations.
Western was at the forefront of industry changes, dealing with these unique operational challenges. As a result, Mr. Wilson shifted Western Landís focus from traditional oil and gas leasing services, to a company focused on all aspects of oil and gas resource development. By expanding its service portfolio to include not only traditional leasing and title work, but also project layout and design, wildlife and environmental studies and coordination of field activities, Mr. Wilson found a way to position Western Land wisely in the market and offer solutions to clients facing these industry challenges.
Since the late 1990s, Western Land not only began emphasizing its expanded service portfolio, but also venturing geographically into other emerging oil and gas plays throughout the U.S. In 1999, for instance, Western Land opened its Sheridan, Wyoming office to service the Powder River Basin CBM play. Western Land has always managed to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating industry trends and positioning itself amidst the bustle of the oil and gas industry to be easily accessible to clients.