Then & Now - March 2022

Then & Now - March 2022

MARCH 2016

Oklahoma researchers recorded more than 900 earthquakes greater than 3.0-magnitude during 2015, up from 578 in

that category during 2014. As of early March, more than 140 earthquakes greater than 3.0-magnitude have hit the state, including eight greater than 4.0. Drilling disposal wells through the Arkbuckle formation into the crystalline basement could increase the risk of triggered earthquakes, some researchers claim.

For a group said to have arrived at death’s door many times in 55 years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has displayed remarkable survivability, simply by adapting. Past death pronouncements emerged when oil- market changes undermined the group's effectiveness, and the latest threat will likely be no different.

An estimated 230,105 Texans remained on upstream industry payrolls as of January. The last time the crude-oil price and the rig count were at present levels, upstream oil field employment in Texas was about 100,000 less than the January total. Some analysts claim that this suggests the bloodletting in Texas’ upstream oil and gas industry will continue as the year progresses.

Light sweet crude: $34.66/bbl

Natural gas: $1.69/MMbtu

US active rig count: 489 

MARCH 2009

Russian conflicts with Ukraine and Belarus, and Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, continue to place Europe in a vulnerable position while also serving as a central theme in US foreign policy. This has encouraged Europeans to seek alternatives to Russian gas through greater production from the North Sea, imports of LNG, use of alternative fuels and direct pipeline links to Central Asia.

Unless crude oil prices increase soon, Alaska is looking at a more than $1 billion revenue shortfall in 2009, Alaska

Governor Sarah Palin told her state’s lawmakers. Spending will need to be cut where necessary, and it will take much cooperation to see the state through this uncertain period, Palin said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has vowed that his brand of twenty-first-century socialism would triumph – even if the price of oil plummeted to zero. But now, even El Presidente is facing a hard truth. “Oil prices are very low,” he acknowledged in a recent speech in Caracas. “For

Venezuela, this is tough and difficult. But even so, I will stick to what I have said: We are not going to cut spending on the missions…food, health, education and housing.” (Hugo ends up turning to PDVSA to try and bail him out.)

Light sweet crude: $68.10/bbl Natural gas: $3.96/MMbtu US active rig count: 883 

MARCH 2017

Cuba is moving to develop its offshore oil and gas resources closer to Florida’s coast than the US government allows.

Offshore oil and natural gas drilling, sanctioned by the Cuban government, is planned within 60 miles of Florida’s southern borders. Moreover, the drilling potential within the existing Cuban basin is such that oil wells will, in the near future, be as close as 35-40 miles from the Florida Keys. The island nation cannot develop its offshore energy resources itself, so it's enlisting the help of Canadian, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Venezuelan and Norwegian companies.

The US holds as much as 430 billion bbl of technically recoverable oil in a resource in place of 1.124 trillion bbl, according to the Department of Energy.

The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill to begin oil and gas leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico’s Sale 181 area. The bill would order Interior Sec. Gale A. Norton to begin the leasing process within one year of its enactment. The Outer Continental Shelf area was scheduled to be opened for drilling in 2001 before President George W. Bush removed it from consideration.

Light sweet crude: $62.28/bbl

Natural gas: $6.76/MMbtu

US active rig count: 1520


This month, we meet the press and various political operatives present at The Barbecue.

Members of the press stayed close to the bar and talked with the men whose job it was to act as mediators between the public and the powerful. George Christian had served as Johnson’s press secretary, a member of Connally’s Capitol corps and as an advisor to the Democrats for Nixon. Another political operative was Julian Reed, who coordinated Connally’s television presentations during his first governor’s race in 1961, the most expensive gubernatorial campaign in Texas history up to that time. Reed emulated Connally in many ways, dressed as Connally did, walked and spoke in the same manner, and eventually became the only one of the guests to follow him into the Republican fold.

Editors representing various newspapers around the state remained separate from mere reporters. The editor of the Houston Chronicle, Everett Collier, was a modest newsman, but an avowed promoter of Connally and his closest friends. He headed Houston’s most conservative paper (Things do change!), although some would argue that the difference between it and the Houston Post was discernible only to the trained eye. Collier had been one of many to beg Connally to run for a fourth term as governor.

Approval by half a dozen such newspapers around the state, and their counterparts in television, was almost tantamount to the success of an issue or a candidate, and Connally had

it from all of them. Connally once telephoned Collier and asked him to write an editorial urging Crawford Martin to run for the position of attorney general. Collier said that he didn’t mind writing endorsements, but that no editorial had ever appeared in the Chronicle urging someone to run. “There’s always a first time, Everett,” Connally said.

Next month, an interesting cause and a new theme song are discussed at The Barbecue.


What was the first “technological learning institution” west of the Mississippi River? 

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 gift card to a nice restaurant (courtesy of the ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories). 


The first pipe movement of an oil product in the US involved distillate that was moved through wrought-iron pipe between the Warren refinery in Clumer, Pennsylvania and Allegheny River, Pennsylvania (a distance of three miles) in 1863.


There was no history quiz winner in January.