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Alida oilman Lemieux joins the ranks of SE Sask Legends

Dean Lemieux was a fixture with NAL Resources for almost 27 years.
Dean Lemieux is congratulated on becoming a Southeast Sask Legend during the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show.

WEYBURN - Dean Lemieux's commitment to the southeast Saskatchewan oilpatch was rewarded with his enshrinement as a Southeast Sask Legend during the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show March 5 in Weyburn.

Lemieux was born and raised at Alida in 1965. His father worked on the rigs and then had his own Alida-based oilfield construction company when Lemieux was young. Lemieux worked for his father part-time as a teenager.

Lemieux graduated in 1984 from the Carnduff High School. He started working on a crew truck, doing contract maintenance for Mobil Oil.

“From there, one of the contract operators went to work permanently for another company, so I got a battery operating job for Mobil in ’84," said Lemieux. “Then I operated until ’87. They started building a battery down at Alida, again, and they promoted me to junior supervisor, helping out the Mobil construction superintendent.”

That led to his first leadership position, supervising the battery construction for half a year. He went back to relief battery operating. In late 1989, Mobil sold the North Nottingham Unit to NAL Resources, which at the time was North American Life.

NAL soon bought the Alida Unit. About 10 years later, they bought the Rosebank area, between Storthoaks and Alida.

“The contract operators were not going to be hired for the new company. Brent Dunnigan with Armada Resources at that time approached me to work for him. I trained a couple of his operators in the area, then started consulting for Brent, mostly on NAL properties,” Lemieux said.

NAL started drilling horizontal wells in the area in the early 1990s, shortly after they bought the Nottingham properties.

Lemieux married Anna-Marie Fornwald of Lampman in 1992. They met while she was working at Kenosee Lake on her summers off from university. She was completing her finance degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She worked in admin for several companies in southeast Saskatchewan. They have three children – twins Austin and Lucia in 1994, and Dalton in 1998.

The twins were born two days before Lemieux started his new foreman job for NAL.

Target Resources had managed NAL’s properties with Armada operating and consulting for them. In 1994 NAL decided to bring it in house.

“NAL decided they were going to manage their own properties and wanted a field foreman. So, my good wife got me to apply for the company position. And Feb. 15, 1994, I was hired as production foreman for NAL Resources. We had no employees other than myself and one admin in the office,” he said.

He worked initially out of Alida. But in 1999, NAL had bought enough of the ownership of the Nottingham gas plant to challenge operatorship of the plant and take it over. Nottingham was and is one of the oldest and largest gas plants in southeast Saskatchewan, dating back to the 1950s. The plant foreman that was running it decided not to accept a position with NAL Resources.

“So, two days prior to taking over the gas plant, they came to my office in Alida and said, ‘Here you go, Lemieux. You’re the new plant foreman and you’ve got ten employees under you,’” he said.

“I knew nothing about gas plant processing. And the HR person said, ‘Well, you've got experienced people under you. And you’re just overseeing the plant and managing people.’”

That led to Lemieux eventually training for a number of gas processing competencies.

The addition of the gas plant led to a promotion as southeast Saskatchewan superintendent. The field office was moved to the Nottingham gas plant, allowing everyone from oil operations and gas operations to work together as a team.

In 1996, NAL Resources amalgamated with the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company to form Manulife Financial. The investment division kept the NAL Resources name for the energy division. It was one of the first oil companies to be converted into an oil and gas trust.

In 2000, Lemieux was honoured with a Manulife Stars of Excellence award. Lemieux and his team were recognized earlier in the year by Ziff Energy Group for having some of the lowest operating costs in southeast Saskatchewan.

After living in Carnduff for nine years, the Lemieuxs bought 100 acres northeast of the town, just 23 kilometres from the gas plant. They built a new home and started raising some cattle, eventually expanding their land holdings and herd.

In 2003, NAL bought a portion of Nexen, which led to Lemieux working out of an Estevan office. That meant he now had around 45 employees working under him and more than doubling NAL’s production in southeast Saskatchewan.

NAL purchased assets near Kindersley, which led to that area coming under Lemieux’s responsibility as well in 2011, as he took over as superintendent for all of NAL’s operations in Saskatchewan.

Whitecap Resources bought NAL in 2021, but Lemieux was not brought over beyond the transition. He was with NAL for almost 27 years. NAL Resources was one of a very few oil and gas companies to keep its company name through its entire 31-year existence. Lemieux dedicated most of his career to NAL and took pride in managing the company as if it were his own.

Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to work with an exceptionally good team that was knowledgeable and hard working. He has really enjoyed working with numerous service and supply companies and has made some great friends in the industry.

Lemieux took a year off from the oilfield to work on his farm. Randy Ulrich of Woodley Well Services reached out to Lemieux and asked if he would like to do some oilfield construction consulting. That led to the creation of Coyote Oilfield Supervision. Lemieux is in the field supervising construction and maintenance projects and Anna-Marie manages the admin.

Along the way, Lemieux found time to volunteer, helping build the Carnduff golf clubhouse. He served as secretary/treasurer with the Carnduff Oilmen’s golf committee for many years. He spent 25-plus years with the oil spill contingency group, including 15 years on the executive. Lemieux led the CAPP Energy in Action initiative for five years in several communities in southeast Saskatchewan, including Lampman, Oxbow, Midale and Carnduff.

His two sons followed Lemieux into the oilpatch. Austin works with Competition Environmental and Dalton works with Day Group of Companies. Their daughter, Lucia, is a pharmacist in Regina.