The Alberta Oil Operators' Association was founded in 1927 to help the industry deal with its many unique and difficult problems. It was reorganized in 1929 as the Oil and Gas Association of Alberta. This association merged in 1938 with the Petroleum Producers' Association (created the previous year by independent oil producers) to form the Alberta Petroleum Association. Throughout the 1940s it provided industry members with the opportunity to express their views to government agencies.
In 1947 the name was changed to the Western Canadian Petroleum Association. Fred M. Graham was the first president. In 1952 WCPA amalgamated with the Saskatchewan Operators' Association under its current name, the Canadian Petroleum Association. C.U. Daniels was the first chairman of the board. CPA's objectives are to establish better understanding between the petroleum and natural gas industry and the public, to encourage cooperation between the industry and all levels of government, and to provide a forum for discussion of matters affecting members. Most of its workload is handled by an extensive committee system.
CPA's head office is in Calgary. An Ottawa office was established in 1958. Divisional offices were opened in Calgary and Regina in 1952, in Victoria in 1960, and in St. John's in 1981. The Victoria, Regina and St. John's offices were closed in 1991. In 1992 CPA amalgamated with the Independent Petroleum Association of Canada to form the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.