Then & Now - April 2020

Then & Now - April 2020

MARCH 2003

With the prospect of a US war with Iraq, oil price predictions range anywhere from $15/bbl lower to $20/ bbl higher. As a result, consumer prices could easily increase $0.30 – 0.35/gal in a matter of 30 days.

Oil analysts predict that hydrogen will become increasingly important in coming years as more stringent fuel regulations are enforced, and later as hydrogen vehicles gain acceptance. (Back to your Ouija boards!)

Light, sweet crude: $34.63/bbl

Natural gas: $4.20/MMbtu

MARCH 2008

Colombia’s incursion into Ecuador to attack the Colombian rebel group FARC raises the tension level between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and threatens oil production in the area.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that Colombia is a pawn in a US plot to invade Venezuela.

The USGS estimates roughly 1.26 billion bbl of oil and 1.02 billion bbl of natural gas liquids in the Permian Basin, with 60 percent in conventional reservoirs and 40 percent in unconventional reservoirs. (Oops!)

Light, sweet crude: $100.84/bbl

Natural gas: $9.23/MMbtu

MARCH 2013

The final environmental impact statement issued by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jump-starts the approval process for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project.

Chevron reports construction continuing on the Jack, St. Malo and Big Foot deepwater projects in the US Gulf of Mexico. These Lower Tertiary reservoir projects are scheduled for start-up in 2014.

Light, sweet crude: $90.98/bbl

Natural gas: $3.56/MMbtu


This month, McCarthy’s restrictive deal with one of his two major creditors falls apart and he is ousted as president of his companies.

It only took three days for McCarthy’s restrictive oversight deal with Equitable to fall apart. On January 18, 1951, an updated analysis of McCarthy’s overall reserves reached Equitable’s board and it was catastrophic: Reserves were down a third. Equitable’s board met and decided gradual control would no longer do it; it needed immediate and total control. At a meeting in Houston on March 1, the insurer’s executives ousted McCarthy as president of his companies (though he remained chairman), and replaced him with a squat Equitable attorney named Warner H. Mendel. In effect, Mendel became McCarthy's new boss. Equitable needed McCarthy’s continued presence if the Shamrock was to maintain its stature. Any hint that Equitable had pushed him aside, an internal report noted, would lead Texans to view it as “the big, bad absentee Scrooge.”

For Warner Mendel, it was the job from Hades. McCarthy had gone along with the change because he had no choice, and because he felt he had wrung from Equitable a pledge “to keep your hands off the hotel.” Mendel moved to Houston, overseeing McCarthy Oil & Gas from 7 am to 6 pm each day, and running the hotel until 11 pm every night. When he began slashing costs, McCarthy resisted. It was no use. Mendel fired the golf pro, killed the magazine, and suggested that the next time McCarthy was in New York, he might inquire as to the market for used private planes.

Next month, war breaks out between McCarthy and Mendel. 


Born and raised in Floresville in a poor family with seven kids whose father worked as a barber, a butcher, a bricklayer and a tenant farmer, all without success, I was determined to make my way into high society. I managed to gain admission to UT and left with a law degree to pursue a political career, ultimately serving in both state and national government positions.

I subsequently joined a large Houston law firm that represented the likes of Shell, Gulf, Mitchell Energy, Brown & Root and American General Insurance. Who am I?

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


The notable Wyoming bureaucrat that later took a formidable position in the oil industry was Dick Cheney.  


Dana Jurick with Neubrex Energy Services (US)