Then & Now - January 2021

Then & Now - January 2021


You’ve got to love this South La. well and formation name: “Union Pacific Resources Group Inc. (UPR), Fort Worth, and partner Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Houston, have made a gas discovery on the Etouffee prospect with their Continental Land & Fur Co. Inc. 1 well, about 15 miles southeast of Morgan City in Terrebonne Parish, La.”

The good news from Russia for the oil and gas industry is that the Communist Party no longer controls legislation in the Duma, or lower house of parliament. The rest remains a muddle. It's worth cheering that 60% of the Russian electorate voted in December's parliamentary election, but that welcome exercise of democracy is yesterday's news. It also makes the meaning of the outcome no less puzzling. Oil companies, though, should be wary. They increasingly get called to account when governments with which they do business misbehave. Moscow is as prone to misbehavior as ever, as President Boris Yeltsin demonstrated recently with his truculent reminder to the US that Russia possesses nuclear weapons.


Long-term changes are under way in the global energy market that will affect all Americans and the US energy industry of the future, said Rex W. Tillerson, president of ExxonMobil Corp. at a joint meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association in Houston. “Even with greater energy efficiency, the total amount of energy used by 2030 will have increased by almost two-thirds. Most of that increase will be in oil and natural gas,” which Tillerson said will retain about three- fifths of the total energy supply. “Natural gas will grow at a rate slightly higher than oil and could provide one quarter of all energy by 2030."

Damage from an accidental or intentional breach of an LNG carrier could extend as far as 1,600 m from the damaged ship for a large spill but pose little threat beyond that, says a new federal study. A spill large enough to threaten public safety out to 1,600 m probably would result from an intentional breach such as from a terrorist attack, the study says. The Sandia study assumes that a spill from an intentional attack would be larger than that from an accident because it would involve greater damage to cargo tanks. It estimates that the most likely accidents would create breaches smaller than 2 sq m. It estimates breach sizes resulting from intentional attacks at 2-12 sq m.

Light sweet crude: $41.80/bbl

Natural gas: $6.20/MMbtu


Over 50 years ago M. King Hubbert made an important contribution to our understanding of oil production trends saying that for any given geographical area, from an individual oil-producing region to the planet as a whole, the rate of petroleum production tends to follow a bell-shaped curve. According to Hubbert, "peak oil" occurs when production can no longer be increased to meet demand. He correctly predicted that production of oil from conventional sources would peak in the continental US in the period 1965-70. In fact, oil production will peak and then decline in any petroleum region, province, or single country as long as producers continue to find and produce large reserves of comparatively low-cost crude in other areas. Hubbert went on to predict a worldwide oil peak in "about half a century" but did suggest that the actions of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries might flatten the global production curve, delaying the peak for perhaps 10 years.

During his era of cheap oil, it is understandable that Hubbert failed to appreciate the impact that rising oil prices would have on consumption and, consequentially, on oil production. Worldwide "peak oil" is a myth stemming from the failure to recognize that a worldwide shortage of any commodity in demand results in higher prices, thereby stifling demand.

Light sweet crude: $81.85/bbl

Natural gas: $5.61/MMbtu


This month….The story of Glenn McCarthy begins its final chapter.

The story of Glenn McCarthy, once Houston’s greatest wildcatter, had one final chapter. On the steamy afternoon of June 1, 1987, the first wrecking ball slammed into the walls of the Shamrock. It had been coming for years. In its day, the hotel had hosted six American presidents, from Eisenhower to Reagan. By the 1980’s it was rarely full, and the grand soirees that had once showcased Frank Sinatra and Milton Berle had long since given way to pimply bands playing the proms of teenagers from Pearland and Cypress and Houston’s gritty south side. When a neighborhood group coalesced in a vain effort to save the old hotel, reporters were startled to find McCarthy in a protest crowd, stooped, almost 80 years old, but still angry enough to curse the businessmen who were tearing down his beloved Shamrock to make way for a parking lot.

McCarthy didn’t come to the big Irish wake they had thrown on June 9, 1986, the night the Shamrock closed. It was a sad evening. An older woman cried in the lobby. Middle-aged men led their children past the pool, pointing out where they swam as boys. Up in the penthouse a bagpiper serenaded the last visitors as they took the elevator down for the last time after midnight.

Next month….The story of “The Man Who Was Texas” comes to a close.


The theory of exploration geophysics was based on the seismograph, originally invented to record

earthquakes. A more practical application was made during World War I by the German Army. What was that application?

If you would like to participate in this month’s quiz, e-mail your 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 Laboratories).


Arthur Fremont Gilmore was the dairy farmer who struck oil while drilling for water for his cows on his dairy farm in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles in 1903, ultimately leveraging the discovery into an independent oil company with over three thousand gas stations.

November Quiz Results – No winner this month