Then & Now - January 2019

Then & Now - January 2019


United Nations diplomats complain to the UN that they are having trouble getting gasoline for their official limousines in New York, one of which is Jamil M. Baroody of Saudi Arabia, a prime mover in the recent oil embargo.

The Interior Department prepares to issue permits for construction of the Alaska crude-oil pipeline this month, now that Congress has removed right-of- way and environmental impediments.

US active rig count: 1,417


An investigation concludes that a gas release caused by removing a pressure relief valve from piping associated with a condensate injection pump is believed to be the cause of the July Piper Alpha disaster in the UK North Sea that cost 167 lives.

War-weary Iraq and Iran are seen to be gradually normalizing international business relations again, having put behind them a five-month cease-fire and a new OPEC accord (birds of a feather….).

WTI crude: $16.30/bbl

US active rig count: 930


US crude oil stocks plunge by five million bbl to 273 million bbl, the lowest level recorded at year- end since the government began keeping records in 1982.

A deepwater drillship sets a new drilling time record off Mauritania by drilling 1,641 m in 5.3 days, including setting and testing the blowout preventer, in 1,351 m water depth.

Light sweet crude: $33.88/bbl; Natural gas: $7.03/MMbtu; US rig count: 1,106


This month we continue our look back at the rise and fall of wildcatter Glenn McCarthy, as the star-studded opening day for The Shamrock finally arrives.

The day prior to the grand opening dawns and the stars began to arrive. McCarthyhad chartered an entire 14-car Santa Fe train—the Shamrock Special— to bring them from Hollywood. A crowd of 5,000 dominated by “bobby-soxers” ringed the train station and lined nearby rooftops for its arrival. Girls squealed when Dorothy Lamour emerged and kissed McCarthy on the cheek. Cheers erupted as other stars followed: Robert Ryan, Andy Devine, Alan Hale, Ward Bond, Kirk Douglas, Stan Laurel, Buddy Rogers, Ruth Warrick, and Robert Stack. Four dozen more arrived on an American Airlines charter that afternoon.

Finally, the opening day arrives and McCarthy is observed gliding through the Shamrock’s carpeted hallways inspecting his handiwork. Even his critics had to admit his décor made a statement. The walls and carpets were shades of coral and lime. Columns were rose and pink. The cavernous lobby, paneled in acres of Honduran mahogany, was dominated by a life-size portrait of McCarthy himself. Outside, the pool shimmered with Kelly-green water. Uniformed guards lined its edges, as a result of a cabal of Texas Aggies that threatened to dump maroon dye into it (Surely not!). “It’s the greatest hotel the world has ever known,” he told a reporter. Frank Lloyd Wright, attending a convention in Houston that week, took the tour, and emerged in a daze. Asked his opinion of the interior,Wright remarked that he’d always wondered what the inside of a jukebox looked like.

Night approached, and the staff appeared ready. The news vendors shifted uncomfortably in their rented tuxedos.The security guards had actually been given elocution lessons, shown how to holster their Texas accents, and instructed to address guests with “Good evening, sir” instead of “Howdy.” Buxom girls stood ready to hand out little packets of the Irish shamrocks as the guests arrived. 

Next month, the guests begin filing in.


Who is considered the father of the modern oil well cementing process?

If youwouldliketoparticipateinthismonth’squiz,e-mailyour answer to by noon January 15. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all correct answers, will receive a $50 gift card to a nice restaurant (courtesy of the ProTechnics Division of Core Lab). 


Prior to air strikes on Iraq by the US and UK in December 1998, Turkey, Pakistan, India, and Dubai had been identified as pur- chasing oil from Iraq, while Iraqwas under an Allies-imposed oil embargo.


Joel Cristal with Noble Energy