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Then and Now - May 2008

May 1958 National Geographic Society claims that over the last 40 to 50 years the earth has been getting warmer, thus bringing about a decline in heating oil demand. (I thought Al Gore was the first to report this phenomenon.) $ Meanwhile, TV is being blamed for everything but global warming. It takes the rap for the breakdown of the educational system, the rise of juvenile delinquency, and the decline of home cooking. (Don’t tell S. Smith Sr. this. He thought Howdy Doody was pretty educational.) $ Which reservoirs were hot exploration prospects in East Texas in 1958….Cotton Valley, Bossier, Travis Peak? Would you believe salt dome oil production? $ Who is the newest player in the Persian Gulf? Would you believe the Japanese? The Japanese firm, Arabian Oil Co., secures a concession off the “Neutral Zone”. East Texas crude …


Then and Now - April 2008

April 1958 Two MIT professors announce the development of the “thermoelectron engine”, a device that coverts heat generated by any type of fuel into electrical energy. Thermal efficiencies of 30% are expected.  Like to guess at Royal Dutch Shell’s net income for 1957? Would you believe a paltry $600 million? Conoco reports the development of a seismic method that involves pounding the earth with a vibrating device to create sound waves that are sent through the earth’s strata. “Vibroseis”, as they call it, will reportedly eliminate the need for drilling shot-holes and firing explosives. LPG marketers announce plans to begin mixing ethane into their commercially marketed butane in extremely cold weather areas. The ethane enhances the volatility of the butane far better than does propane. (Not expected to be marketed in Houston.) East Texas crude oil - $3.25/bbl; U.S. active …


Assessment of Forecast Uncertainty in Mature Reservoirs

Subscribe to the video podcast The 2007–08 SPE Distinguished Lecturer Program emphasizes current industry trends, challenges, and technology. Jorge Landa has been chosen as one of the Distinguished Lecturers for this program year.  Jorge Landa is a senior adviser in reservoir engineering with Chevron Energy Technology. His work experience before joining Chevron includes 15 years with Halliburton. Landa earned MS and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering from Stanford University and a mechanical engineering degree from Universidad de Buenos Aires. He has written 14 papers in the areas of history matching, uncertainty assessment, well testing and data integration in reservoir characterization. Facing the current challenge of oil industry, modern and efficient reservoir management is necessary. Making the right decision of reservoir development utilizing all available data in a timely manner is the key of successful operation. For mature reservoirs, this requires high …


Then and Now - January 2008

January 1958 Midcontinent refiners register concern over reports that foreign oil is being moved up the Mississippi River by barge to be refined in Memphis. Superior Oil Co. management reports receiving a contract to sell 10,000 bbl/day of its Lake Maracaibo crude to customers in the United States. Richfield develops a punch card database for all of its California wells, thus moving to the next level in data retrieval. (OK. How many of you can remember doing your programming with punch cards? Remember, it was back during the "fountain pen" era.) Who will be the oil legislation "movers and shakers" in the 1958 Congress? Would you believe Senator J.W. Fulbright, author of the gas bill and chairman of the senate banking committee, and Representative Wilbur Mills, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Both come from the state of …


Then and Now - December 2007

December 1957 If you are inquisitive, sleuthful, determined, sneaky, can keep a secret, have the gift of gab, and coincidentally expensive tastes, what might your career path be in today’s E&P organization? That’s right…a landman. Things were not always quite so lucrative for their predecessor…the lease broker. Witness the following testimonial from a South Texas lease broker circa 1957. “Starting out with $1,000, which I saved from my former work during the First World War, I built it up after 38 years to about $1,000. A farm bought primarily for the mineral gamble and a few mineral or royalty interests that pay anywhere from 1 cent to as much as $20 per month, cost me $1,000 total. So there you have my balance sheet after 38 years as a lease broker. Maybe some day I will get my money back.” …


Then and Now - November 2007

November 1957 After an average 5.9% raise, annual salaries for all U.S. engineering disciplines now range between $5,400 and $13,100. (Annual salaries have increased 10-20 fold, but the annual raises have remained about the same.) Keeping with statistics, the average service station (Remember them?) in 1956-57 generated $89,265 in revenue, and the average service station operator earned $6,606 per annum. Not content to have their Sputnik satellite sailing over our heads, the Russians now claim to have developed a superfuel not based on oil. (I’m guessing it's vodka related.) Navy threatens to sue the state of California, city of Long Beach, and private oil men over the subsidence damages to the Long Beach naval base resulting from oil withdrawals. They cite as a precedent the successful Goose Creek (near Galveston) subsidence law suit. East Texas crude oil - $3.25/bbl; U.S. …


Then and Now - October 2007

October 1957 How big are oil tankers getting these days? Bethlehem Steel is building a supertanker for Onassis Interests (Remember… Jackie’s second husband?) that will be larger in total tonnage than the entire 132-ship Spanish Armada. Studebaker-Packard reports plans to enter the economy car market by introducing the German-built “Gogomobile”, which will get 38 to 48 miles per gallon out of a 17 hp rear-mounted, two-stroke engine. (My riding mower has more hp than that!) Russia puts the first unmanned space satellite (Sputnik) into orbit. (How many of you baby boomers can remember where you were when that announcement was made?) The first successful oil producing well on the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula is completed by Richfield (Remember them…the “R” in ARCO?) East Texas crude oil - $3.25/bbl; U.S. active rig count – 2,488 October 1982 The U.S.S.R. reports a record …


Then and Now - September 2007

September 1957 Washington becomes the 32nd oil-producing state with its first commercial oil producer, the Medina #1 in Grays Harbor County on the Pacific coastline. $ Prognosticators predict that one day in the 21st century, every major city in the U.S. will have a petroleum products pipeline system bringing petroleum products to its terminal from a main products artery or refining center. $ What’s the latest shiny gas-guzzler to appear in the new-car showrooms? The answer is the Edsel. OK…How