September 1949

California overproduction reaches “alarming proportions,” pushing daily oil output over 900,000 bbl.  (The California state coffers could do with some of that overproduction right about now if you were to ask “The Terminator”.) $ The first commercial hydrocarbon production found in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast since the end of WW II is reported in state waters off High Island, Galveston County. $ Standard Oil of California claims the world’s deepest oil production from an Eocene sand at 15,440-75 ft in Kern County. $ The first string of all-plastic tubing ever used by the petroleum industry is run in a salt-water disposal well in Ellsworth County, Kansas.
East Texas crude oil - $2.65/bbl

September 1984

The first commercial hydrocarbon strike in the South China Sea turns out to be natural gas instead of the hoped for oil, but according to ARCO officials, it could help make China self-sufficient in much-needed fertilizer. $ Halliburton claims to be the first service company to have pumped over one billion sacks of oilfield cement.  (Erle would be proud!) $ Iran’s Kharg Island oil terminal is back up and running following repairs necessitated by the Iraqi air raid. $ Western Arkansas exploration is on the upswing, as ARCO stakes three deep (15,000-20,000 ft) wildcats.  (Probably turned their noses up at the Fayetteville shale.)
U.S. active rig count – 2,408

September 1999

Continuing upheaval in Venezuela, and especially in state petroleum giant Pdvsa, is generating concern among foreign companies considering investments in that country’s oil and gas sector.  (Should potential investors be concerned that Pdvsa has had three presidents in the past year?) $ Privatization efforts by Indonesia (Pertamina) and Mexico (Pemex) stall out at the political level. $ Meanwhile, as two of the industry’s biggest merger deals, namely BP-Amoco-ARCO and Exxon-Mobil, move towards closure, TotalFina and Elf continue to duke it out. $  Thanks in part to a filibuster by Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson fails in her attempt to push through an oil royalty moratorium that would have blocked MMS’s efforts to impose a controversial new oil royalty regime on U.S. producers.
Light sweet crude oil - $23.01/bbl; Natural gas - $2.74/MMBTU; U.S. active rig count – 690

The Rest of the Yarn

He joined Phillips Petroleum in 1953, moving to its European operations in 1968.  He immediately became involved with the huge Ekofisk development offshore Norway.  Development of this multi-structure field proceeded under his direction, including construction and installation of the unique Ekofisk gravity-base tank.  For successfully completing this project, he was awarded the Order of St. Olaf by the Norwegian government.

Returning to the U.S. in 1977, he became Phillips vice president for gas and liquids.  He was elected president of the company in 1982, and chairman in 1985 until his retirement in 1994.

He has been a business and civic leader at local, state and national levels, including service as Chairman of Junior Achievement, National Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the American Petroleum Institute.  He is C. J. (Pete) Silas.  And now you know…The Rest of the Yarn.         

History Quiz

What oilfield town currently lays claim to the worst measured air quality in the U.S.?

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

Answer to May’s Quiz
The Frenchman Etienne Lenoir is credited with building the first combustion engine fueled by coal gas in 1860.

Answer to April’s Quiz
In 1915, Oklahoma became the leading U.S. oil-producing state.

Congratulations to April’s winner – Sandra Wiegand with Petrobras America