February 1940
What was the hottest hydrocarbon play in North Texas in 1940? Barnett Shale gas in Wise County? Would you believe Caddo Lime oil in Montague County? Don’t look now, but oil is hot again in Montague County and this time from the Barnett. $ What sort of technical papers were being presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (parent organization of the SPE) in 1940? “Measurements of the Viscosities of Oils Under Reservoir Conditions”; “Effects of Temperature and Pressure on Properties of Oil-Well Cements”; “The Eykometer and its Application for Measuring the Yield Point of Drilling Muds”; “Pressure Distribution About a Slotted Liner in a Producing Oil Well”; and “Reduction of Water in Marginal Oil Wells.” (We still haven’t completely mastered some of these challenges.)
East Texas crude oil - $1.10/bbl

February 1970
Jackie’s husband Aristotle Onassis signs agreement with the Greek government to…build more oil tankers? No, he commits to a $600 million investment in oil refining and storage. $ SEDCO is reported to be building a semisubmersible that is tailor-made for challenging operating areas such as Offshore Australia and the Gulf of Alaska. It is expected to be rectangular in shape with vertical columns connecting two torpedo-shaped pontoons and more adaptable to dynamic positioning and self-propulsion. (Only operators with deep pockets need apply.) $ Brazil reports plans to switch its exploratory efforts almost exclusively to offshore areas. (Good-by to snakes, mosquitoes, and tribal feuds.) $ El Paso and Sonatrach reportedly agree to the world’s largest LNG deal, in which annual purchases by El Paso would approach 530 billion cu ft / yr.
U.S. active rig count – 1,065

February 2000
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to halt the $26.8 billion merger of BP Amoco and ARCO is shaping up as the biggest oil antitrust legal battle since the government broke up Standard Oil nearly a century ago. Both sides have vowed a court battle that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. $ Burlington Resources agrees to outsource operations of its Gulf of Mexico properties to Houston service company Baker Energy. $ President Clinton reportedly may opt to use the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to moderate oil prices. $ Texaco charts course to concentrate its upstream operations in three major deltaic plays, namely, Nigeria, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.
Light sweet crude oil - $28.82/bbl; Natural gas - $2.55/MMBTU; U.S. active rig count – 762


The Rest of the Yarn
This month we continue our look back at some of the famous (and infamous) historical sites in Houston which had connections with the oil industry.

Glenwood Cemetery was Houston’s first professionally designed cemetery, and it was first opened in 1871 at 2525 Washington Avenue. A renowned landscape architect was brought from England to sculpt the property’s lush hills into what would become the most famous and historically significant cemetery in Houston. Many of the city’s historically prominent citizens, bearing the names of Cullinan, Hermann, Hobby, Johnston, Jones, McCarthy, Sterling, and Rice, were laid to rest in Glenwood.

Today Glenwood is a place of peace, reflection, and learning even for those without loved ones buried there. A turn-of-the-century Victorian cottage serves as its office, guiding visitors and managing the grounds. Reportedly, the most frequently visited grave site is that of billionaire businessman, aviator, and movie producer Howard Hughes. Hughes, born in Houston, died on an airplane returning to the Bayou City. And now you know…The Rest of the Yarn. (Article excerpted from “Houston Then & Now.”)


History Quiz
We all know that Colonel Drake was the man who directed the art of well drilling toward the specific objective of opening and producing oil strata, ultimately resulting in the first drilled oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859, but who was actually in charge of drilling that well?

If you would like to participate in this month’s quiz, e-mail your answer to contest@spe.org by noon February 15. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all correct answers, will receive a $50 gift card to a nice restaurant.

Answer to January’s Quiz
When it was first incorporated in 1870, the Standard Oil Company adopted that name because at that time there were no standard specifications in the industry for kerosene and other oil products, and they were determined to take on that challenge and distinguish themselves in the process.

Answer to December’s Quiz
In December 1949, Scurry County, Texas (Sacroc Field), with more than 140 rigs running, was proclaimed to be the most active oil area in the world.

Congratulations to December’s winner – Hagan Joyner with Collarini Associates