Sept 1950
It is possible for oil interests and ecological interests to coexist, as witnessed by a recent compromise between West Coast oil interests, the U.S. Forest Service, the Interior Department, and the Audubon Society. Under an agreement that was reached between these groups, drilling in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, California, home of the 60 remaining California condors, could proceed as long as those operations were conducted relatively quietly and at least half a mile from the nearest condor nest. (See … it can be done!) $ Add polar exploration to the list of sciences benefitting from the oil industry and its wondrous equipment. The American Geographical Society has chosen an Eastman Oil Well Survey Co. instrument to measure the drift of the Juneau ice cap in Alaska.
East Texas crude oil - $2.65/bbl

Sept 1970
The border war may be on, as Mobil drills a rank wildcat 6 miles north of the metropolis of Telephone, Texas and just 660 ft from the Oklahoma border. (That hold better be straight or there are going to be problems!) $ Meanwhile, further to the north, Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin has three wildcats drilling below 20,000 ft. $ The Iraqi Union of Oil and Mineral Workers warns that members would destroy all imperialistic oil installations if Middle East peace is achieved under the U.S. plan. $ Despite no drilling in the area in the past 15 years, Texaco reports plans to drill a wildcat in central Florida, 6 miles northeast of Wewahotee. (Sounds like a word out of a John Wayne movie.)
U.S. active rig count – 945

Sept 1990
The threat of war with Iraq pushes oil prices above $30 per bbl. $ Pennzoil and Snyder Oil announce plans to jointly participate in a Niobrara play in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, which may include horizontal drilling. (It looks like they were ahead of the peloton.) $ Venezuela’s state-owned Pdvsa authorizes its Citgo unit to negotiate purchase of 50% of New Jersey refiner Seaview Petroleum. (Beware … Hugo is spreading his wings!) $ Greece announces plans to end its state monopoly on oil and gas exploration and invites participation by Greek and foreign private companies. Greece’s only production at present is in the northern Aegean Sea. (I’ll volunteer for that duty!)
Light sweet crude oil - $31.13/bbl; U.S. active rig count – 1,039

The Rest of the Yarn
A syndicated cartoonist for many years, including a weekly entry in the Oil and Gas Journal in the 1950’s, he made fame and fortune thanks to his goofy inventions, bizarre statues, and similarly incongruous and impossible drawings. His name became a household word and is still a synonym for an odd mechanical contraption. Later in his career he decided to turn to higher things, dropped his inventions cold, and devoted himself to serious political cartooning. He did so well at it that he won a Pulitzer Prize. But his suppressed mechanical genius cried out for an outlet, so he began putting it to work identifying cause-and-effect relationships in the news events every week. Again he succeeded, but regardless, he will forever be identified with his odd mechanical contraptions. He was Rube Goldberg. And now you know … The Rest of the Yarn.


History Quiz
In September 1970, how many (+/- 5) “super deep” wells were being drilled at one time in the U.S.: a) 15; b) 30; c) 45; or d) 60? For a tie-breaker, what county and state had the most “super deep” wells being drilled at that time?

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 card to a nice restaurant.

Answer to May’s Quiz
The order and year of the first oil discoveries in the following states is as follows: Tennessee (1860), New York (1865), Montana (1916) and Arizona (1954).

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.

Congratulations to April’s winner – Mark Glaser with Weatherford International!