Then & Now - November 2019

Then & Now - November 2019


President Ford insists that if we can’t reduce oil imports by 1,000,000 b/d by next year, he will establish a mandatory cap on imports.

Contracts are received for a $169 million expansion of the Suez Canal, which will increase its depth from 50 feet to 64 feet and its width from 295 feet to 525 feet, thus helping to accommodate larger oil tankers.

U.S. active rig count: 1,596


The California Coastal Commission blocks the utilization of tankers to transport oil from the offshore Point Arguello field to Los Angeles, thus mandating movement of the produced oil through the All-American pipeline at a transportation cost of $5/bbl versus $1/bbl by tankering. Production shut-in appears inevitable!

Arab nations are expected to report proved reserves of 791 billion bbl, or 57 percent of the world’s total, by the year 2000... Things could change by then!

WTI crude: $19.95/bbl

U.S. active rig count: 1,042


Damage from Hurricane Ivan in the GOM has forced the shut-in of more than 320,000 b/d of crude and 1.3 bcf/d of natural gas, due in part to damage suffered by surface facilities and in part to underwater mudslides.

India suddenly becomes a hotspot for oil exploration, with Reliance Industries reporting plans to invest $3.26 billion in the development and transportation of natural gas from a deepwater block off eastern India, and Cairn Energy reporting plans to explore and develop several discoveries near the Pakistan border.

Light sweet crude: $49.01/bbl

Natural gas: $7.40/MMbtu

U.S. active rig count: 1,251


This month, McCarthy seeks financial relief at the highest levels.

Speculation about McCarthy’s future spread to Washington when he was seen sliding into a side door at the White House for what officials told reporters was a private meeting with President Truman. Three months later, McCarthy stunned the financial press by confirming that he had asked the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation – and the President – for a $70 million loan package, which if approved, would be the largest government loan ever granted a private businessperson in peacetime.

Still, McCarthy denied he was in trouble, even as rumors swept through Houston that the Shamrock was poised to close. When the Chronicle reported that he was “on the threshold of the poorhouse,” McCarthy flatly lied, claiming all his operations, including the Shamrock and the chemical plant, were running at a profit. His only problem, McCarthy claimed, was new competition from low-priced Middle Eastern oil, which was imported at $1 a barrel at a time when Texas oil cost $2.65. “Every time a barrel of foreign oil comes in America, a barrel less is produced in Texas,” he groused. “Texas is taking most of the licking, but the rest of the country will feel it before long.”

No one around Houston seriously believed McCarthy could go under. An oilman going bankrupt in Texas? He was too big, people said, the Shamrock too glamorous, the times too giddy to even consider such a thing. McCarthy’s legend, in fact, continued to grow. Just three weeks after the disclosure of his government loan request, he reaped the ultimate American accolade: the cover of Time magazine. Beneath McCarthy’s portrait and an illustrated oil derrick adorned with cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat, flexing its muscles Adonis-style, the headline read, “Texas’ Glenn McCarthy: Since Spindletop a Jillion Jackpots.”

Next month, the media’s coverage of McCarthy spawns a new cultural icon.


What famous Italian opera was popularly believed to have been composed in honor of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, and who was the composer?

If you would like to participate in this month’s quiz, e-mail your answer to by noon, November 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 Bakken field that was the site of the play’s first horizontal well in 1987 was the Elkhorn Ranch field in North Dakota.


Walt Laflin with NOV Downhole Engineering