May 1955
Within a couple of weeks of reports that a rich bed of uranium ore had been discovered on a ranch in Southwest Texas…hardware stores are reportedly selling out of Geiger counters, the Texas legislature puts forth an omnibus tax bill which includes a 5% tax on the value of any uranium ore produced in the state, and futurists predict that by the year 2000 the uranium atom will be supplying more energy than oil and gas. (Woa Nellie!) $ At the upcoming World Petroleum Congress in Rome, the planners reportedly plan to utilize a system of podium lights to alert the speakers as to the allotted time remaining for their presentation. If after the green, yellow and red lights have all flashed and the speaker continues on, the moderator is then equipped to disconnect the speaker’s microphone. (I can recall several presentations in which I had wished that such an option was available between the green and yellow lights.)
East Texas crude oil - $2.90/bbl; U.S. active rig count – 2,653

May 1980
Who are some of the oil companies reporting healthy increases in first-quarter 1980 profits? How about Cities Service, Gulf, Sun, Getty, Louisiana Land, and Tenneco. What happened to these companies you ask. We will share their stories in a future column. (In the meantime, sing along….”Where have all the flowers gone….Long time passing….”) $ Under fire from Congress for failing to build up oil stockpiles during the current world surplus, the DOE considers resuming Strategic Petroleum Reserve purchases. To help evaluate the merits of same, Energy Secretary Duncan enlists the help of a Harvard law professor. (What!) $ Tulsa’s famed International Petroleum Exhibition has officially breathed its last. After losing money in 1976 and 1979, the IPE board of directors vote to shut her down. Its 56-year run comes to an inglorious end.
U.S. active rig count – 2,713

May 2005
With no new refineries having been built in the U.S. since 1976, President Bush enlists the DOE to assess the merits of building refineries on closed military bases. $ Energy experts declare that crude oil prices are unlikely to drop below $40/bbl and are likely to increase to $80/bbl by 2008. $ After a four-year run as ChevronTexaco and with a pending acquisition of Unocal, ChevronTexaco changes its name to Chevron Corp and we sing “Happy Trails” to Texaco/The Texas Co./The Texas Fuel Co. which was formed in Beaumont in 1901. $ Meanwhile over in borscht country, the Russian government cancels the merger between Gazprom and Rosneft, citing its plans to raise its ownership stake in Gazprom.
Light sweet crude oil - $50.47/bbl; Natural gas - $6.63/MMBTU; U.S. active rig count – 1,324

The Rest of the Yarn
An Italian immigrant who came to the United States as a child, he grew up in New Jersey and attended high school in Philadelphia. He obtained a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a position at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1923. Bell Labs sent him to earn an M.S. in physics from Columbia University.

In 1926, he saw an ad on a billboard for a job in the Oklahoma oilfields and off he went. There he met John Karcher, who was assembling a crew to test the “seismic method,” a new way to chart underground structures by creating and measuring shock waves travelling through the earth. He became Karcher’s crew chief and went on to prove out the new method in field tests. He was then sent to Los Angeles to head up the western operations of Karcher’s new company, which eventually became Texas Instruments.

In 1933 during the Depression, he took out a loan to start his own oil exploration company, Western Geophysical. It grew from a $9,000 initial investment into a multi-billion-dollar leader in the exploration industry. In 1960 he sold the company to Litton Industries, ran Grant Oil Tool and served on Litton’s board of directors. At this point in his life, he was able to turn his attention to philanthropy and politics.

In 1964 he arranged for Ronald Reagan to speak at a fundraising dinner for Barry Goldwater, and that speech launched Reagan’s political career. He led a small group of men who supported Reagan financially through his successful campaigns for governor and president, acting as his “Kitchen Cabinet.”

He went on to gain prominence as a philanthropist for innumerable educational institutions, cultural and civic groups, and conservative political causes. His foundation has endowed programs at the Claremont Institute and the Heritage Foundation, the latter of which awards an annual $25,000 prize in his name for American Citizenship. He died in 1997. He was Henry Salvatori. And now you know…The Rest of the Yarn.

History Quiz
Group the following states in the order of earliest to latest first oil discovery dates for each – Montana, New York, Tennessee, Arizona.

Answer to April’s Quiz
In the 1870’s, Cleveland, Ohio was viewed as the oil metropolis of the world, due to the first incorporation and headquartering of Standard Oil in that city.
Answer to March’s Quiz
The linguistic proportionality (circa 1950) should read…”Natural Gasoline is to refineries as Recycle Gasoline (acceptable alternatives include “casinghead gasoline,” “drip gasoline,” and “white gasoline”) is to oilfield gasoline plants.” This alternative to natural gasoline, which was basically condensate, was a lower grade, lower octane motor fuel manufactured in oilfield gasoline plants as opposed to the higher grade, higher octane blended motor fuel manufactured by refineries.

Congratulations to March’s winner – David P. Coatney with DPC International Energy, LLC