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 many of you out there actually owned one? Better still…How many of you out there wish you still had it?

East Texas crude oil - $3.25/bbl
U.S. active rig count – 2,495

September 1982

Cities Service Co. shareholders tender almost 97% of the company’s stock, as sought by Occidental Petroleum, in one of the industry’s most seamless takeover bids. $ Reduced demand for petroleum products, oilfield equipment, and rigs have companies such as Cameron Iron Works, InterNorth Inc., and Phillips Petroleum announcing planned workforce reductions. $ A federal judge in New Jersey halts a scheduled lease sale for its state waters due to a perceived environmental threat to the tilefish. (Can’t remember seeing that one the menu at Red Lobster)

U.S. active rig count – 2,505

September 1997

With only 35 drillships and semisubmersibles capable of drilling in 2,600 ft of water, the size of the active deepwater fleet is predicted to double in 3 years, according to industry experts. $ Shell predicts that by 2020, renewable resources could provide 5-10% of the world’s energy. $ A Florida operator claims to have discovered an offshore Florida prospect that has the potential to become the largest U.S. discovery east of the Mississippi. $ Petrobras sets a new water depth record with the first oil production from its South Marlim field in the Campos basin.

Light sweet crude oil - $19.40/bbl
Natural gas - $2.73/MMBTU
U.S. active rig count – 1,012

The Rest of the Yarn

Since many of us oilfield hands are fresh off of a much-deserved, much-delayed, and not long enough vacation, and are trying to catch up on all those “must-do-yesterdays” that apparently no one volunteered to handle while we were away, while returning to fighting the school year / everybody’s-back-from-vacation-now traffic, this column felt like we might all need a good laugh about now to get us through the day. So here goes.

The following is a listing of the key employees for a hypothetical oil company as it appeared in the Oil & Gas Journal 50 years ago. Check and see if any of these individuals seem vaguely familiar to someone in your organization:

CEO……………………………………………Macon Profitz
Secretary to CEO……………………………..May B. Heezin
President………………………………………I. A. Gree
Assistant to President………………………...Macon Pfofitz, Jr
Executive VP………………………………….Tommy Ullsers
General Counsel………………………………Ucant Doodat
Treasurer……………………………………...Cutter X. Spence
Purchasing Agent……………………………..Watts D. Price
Director of Public Relations………………….Tellem Little
R&D Director…………………………………Kantby Rushed
Chief Geologist………………………………..Drillem N. See
Chief Petrophysicist…………………………..I. Goofta Gain
Chief Engineer………………………………...Dewitt Miway
Production Superintendent…………………..Openheim Wider
Manager of Farmouts………………………...Getmor Overide
Unitization Manager………………………….Weelby D. Operator
Proration Manager……………………………Otto Cutback
Director of Dealer Relations………………….S. Kweezim Agin
Advertising Manager…………………………Willett Sellam
HSE Director………………………………….Watts R. Step
Auditor………………………………………...Raizon Cain
Maintenance Superintendent………………...Bailing Wire

Readers are encouraged to submit brief, ostensibly true stories about notable personalities from our industry’s storied past. Submissions should be e-mailed to contest@spe.org.        

History Quiz

OK…So you finally learned how to pronounce it and maybe even how to spell it, but do you know the meaning of this original Indian word with a French spelling…Piceance?

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

Answer to May’s Quiz

Arsenic compounds were used as the first acid corrosion inhibitors to inhibit hydrochloric acid from attacking tubulars while acidizing limestone formations, circa 1932.

Congratulations to May’s winner - Mark Preng with Preng & Associates