May 1959

What were the available options for downhole sand control in the late 1950’s? You could choose from the following: 1) double-wall liners with large slots; 2) graded plastic-coated walnut shells; 3) close-fitting liners; and 4) wire-wrapped liners. $ Dry holes are taking the air out of the Los Angeles town-lot drilling boom. The only bright spots left are on the West Side movie lots. (Sands like the perfect location for a movie about Red Adair and maybe even have John Wayne play the famous fire fighter. Naa !) $ Engineered fracturing jobs are winning acceptance from most oil operators. Curves and charts are being used to determine fluid and sand volumes. Prepared guides for designing the jobs are even on the drawing boards. (What next? Some sort of machine to use in designing them?)
East Texas crude oil - $3.25/bbl; U.S. active rig count – 2,138


May 1984

How’s this for a new anti-takeover measure …. introduce a new class of stock. Coastal Corp. asks its shareholders to approve a special voting class of common stock – called Class A Common – that would eventually consolidate control of Coastal in the hands of the company’s executive officers, directors, and employees. In the process, Coastal’s stock would get bumped down from the New York Stock Exchange to over the counter. $ Fuel ethanol levels of as much as 10% have now been accepted by all auto companies except Peugeot. (Leave it to the French!) $ House energy committee chairman John Dingell, at the request of President Reagan, begins push for emergency preparedness legislation citing the need to deal with the Middle East crisis both in that region and at home. (“A voice crying in the wilderness.”)
U.S. active rig count – 2,206


May 1999

NATO forces continue aggressive oil embargo against Yugoslavia by bombing pipelines, railroads, and roads used to move oil from the coast to Yugoslav forces in Serbia. Meanwhile Russia defies the embargo and continues shipments overland. $ Norway’s government sacks most of Statoil’s board of directors, primarily because of huge cost overruns on the Aasgard project. $ Chevron begins shutting down its beleaguered Point Arguello project off California, the project once touted as the biggest find ever on the U.S. OCS. $ Rumors are rampant that Chevron and Texaco are in preliminary discussions about a possible union. Meanwhile, across the pond, Total is rumored to be making a run at Elf. (Will it ever end ?)
Light sweet crude oil - $18.66/bbl; Natural gas - $2.32/MMBTU; U.S. active rig count – 505

The Rest of the Yarn
Continuing with our examination of Saddam Hussein’s impact on the global petroleum industry, this month….his implosion is complete.

In December 1998, when Hussein again blocked weapons inspections, the U.S. and Britain launched a four-day series of air strikes on Iraqi military and industrial targets. In response, Hussein declared that Iraq would allow no further U.N. inspections. In November 2002, after months of heightened pressure from the U.S. and the U.N., Hussein submitted to a U.N. resolution ordering the immediate return of weapons inspectors to Iraq. Inspectors were sent to Iraq and reported compliance and demanded further time for inspection. However, the U.S. argued that Iraq was not complying fully with inspectors and was continuing to hide banned chemical and biological weapons.

In March 2003, U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq with the goals of removing Hussein from power and destroying the country’s banned weapons. When Baghdad fell to U.S. forces in April, Hussein’s regime collapsed but the U.S. failed to find any banned weapons. After a long game of hide and seek, Saddam Hussein was found in a hole in the ground on Saturday, December 13, 2004. He was later tried by a war crimes tribunal, found guilty, and hanged.


History Quiz

In 1680, the Dutchman Huygens built the first prototype combustion engine, which was fueled by gunpowder. Who is credited with building the first combustion engine fueled by coal gas?

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


Answer to April’s Quiz

In 1915, Oklahoma became the leading U.S. oil-producing state.

Answer to March’s Quiz

The first DOE-sponsored Massive Hydraulic Fracturing (MHF) treatment was performed in 1976 near Decatur in Wise County, Texas.

No winner this month – stumped you !