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Then and Now - October 2008

October 1958 Oilfield hands continue to reflect on the industry’s worst blowout in history near High Island, where for a time all wells tied to the platform went wild as a result of the explosion damaging all of the closely spaced wellheads. $ Venezuelan oil attaché Eduardo Acosta tells an SEG convention that his country is striving to meet its obligations to establish greater reserves for the defense of the western hemisphere. (And Oh by the way, Venezuelan oil is really domestic oil and should be given preferential treatment in any U.S. oil import control program.) $ Speaking of countries that are looking after the U.S.’ best interests, Libya is reportedly close to delineating its first oilfield, thanks to the efforts of a U.S.-based operator consortium. $ The Engineers Joint Council reports that all 1958 engineering graduates had jobs or …


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 …