Home > Article > Texas Petroleum The Unconventional History

Texas Petroleum The Unconventional History

TEXAS PETROLEUMThe Unconventional Historyby mike coxa publication of the texas alliance of energy producersHPNbooksa division of lammert incoporateSan antonio


Soon, othegrew Texan interested inThat September, Beaumont attorney GtW O'Brien receivedell of Liberty Trowell recommendedthat OBrien"buy all the land in Jefferson Countylake water or sour lake tar onThe greatf thishisregion of Texas will be wild upon the subjecter that year, someone did drill a welbecause of inadequate equipmentred byg the whisperingpines ofe uppeIn december with funding from four otherAlove: Early wooden oil tanks inbegan digging a well on his land Usingleum Oil Co Despite its redurnacogdoches County taken in 1880ered drop tool tied to ahavedistinction ofund it irritahit oil at 30 feet Bg exaompany, Next MelroseBclow: Remnants of a nincteenth-centuryPetroleum wenttract with beniaminig near Nacogdoches, where a grocer sund burland it and used it asghde drila producing well in 1866plug to stopflow Then he continued to sink a well on the Skillern property Usingdrilling until he hit waterpiece of machinery called"BThe fers who haned Saenzger for Boring Wells, "Barret and corbegan drilling on June 9, 1866note that the Tejanos brush country"produeWorluntedfirst“dualSeptember 12the MelroseTexas

In a low-key way, the Piedras Pintas wellstruck oil at 106 feet The shallow wellented the state's firstoperation Saenz turned a puerco's ear into a silk of a sample the company sent to New Yorkking ad thetravelers who both watered their animals andWith visions of his lease transforming hisgreased the wheels of their carts at his wellity into theTitusville of Texas barretEast Texas after the Civil War Barrettraveled to New York and then Pennsylvaniaeir store andking financbacking for furtheexploitatinacogdoches Cotract with brown brothers of titusvilleOn October 9, 1865 he signed a dpany that agreed to ship $5,000which granted him"the exclusive privilege of drilling equipment to Texas and begin workingmining operations"on the same acreage hethe play barretfound Brhad leased inmpanythat thethe Skillern estate be paidBarret latccount of the lowth"of all products of said lands in theprice of oil and the unsettled condof mineralsIs "In time that kind ofcounnstruction it would bearrangemuld come to be called an oiadvisable to prosecute the work furtheDespite histhinking, it turnedBarret had the right idea at the wrongwould end up conveying billions of dollarsdrop in oil prices to less than $3 a barrel hadMineraltanked Eastern interest in thedirection to adePawing In price

in another part of the coPennsylvaniaStar state wenrther Having foundrocess, Barret redirected his energies on thBarrett had been Texass first wildcatmore dependable mercantileng before the term entered the vernacular ofhrought in oil wells in Nacogdoches Courhis belief that money coulddout even though some 90 wells dottedarea by 1890tted a total of onlyUS Bureau of mines in 1871 didtheirBarregaoche8th state of the union Inbe said to be the fiWashington geologists flaTexas had little if anyhat lay ahCORSICANAgrowing illuminating oil market, a group olrs had4-and-a-halfentionally soughline atnext significant petroleum discovery in TexasNacogdoches And a small-capacity refinerybegan operation at Bayor decades, cotton growing had been thehe discoverysunk bomic mainstay for the NaCountyBarreth projects wereCorsicana--and mf thepresented the first in Texas Nacogdochesate as well-but in the early 1890s, cottonounty also saw the first use of both rotary prices withered What the dry weather didnt killthe firstage tanksboll weevils did Several Cand the first use of metal drums to hold oilecided that the future of theirlayDespite fairly extensive drilling and thedustrial development, not agriculture

Sinceinfrastructurlufacturing plants needed a reliallot appear that arogdoches of water, they organized a company to drill threeeld as having anything but minimalrtesian wells and hired a less-than-four-yeareconomic value Before long, Barret and theold firm to sink the shaftsNacogdoches oil field he tried to capitalizehad been all bAmerican Well and Prospecting Compairy store og stratum, not water, at 1, 0established a business model that would lasto seal off theinto the modern era-that to produce oil ad kept going deeper, finallywould-be mogul needed a leashitting warm artesian water at 2, 470autographed inure dAnnovedestorscommunilent andwaterch more thanprocess After that, he needed a way to get the cut the contractors fee by half, paying thece to its potential marketcompany only $500A century after Barrechaste tradmade it to the surface andat melrose to unveil a state historicamarker commemorating the Virginian's near it That simple test demonstrated that theoneer efforts Railroadmissioner benneavy enoughtration to beflammable Learning of that,Into perspectively minded businessmen collected a samples] timingas unfortunatell and sent it to Pennsyfor his personal welfare, He was trying toanalysis, Receiving a positivethey organdeygt

I LILLIBut they needed money to do thata refinery Two years after leavinghn davidson a veterantandard Cullinan took the train to texAnother view of the 1898-vintage Magdustry, agreedst in the test andhave been the one who convinced felloWith financia) production inH Galeyhabtandard Oil the Yankee oilman formed acontracted to dnll five test wells for half interecompany he calledCullinanth capital and know -how Crhalf ofest to partner James M Guffeysoon became the leading force in CoDrilled in the heart of the town in 1895 thea tank farm and startedoil well produced only 25 barrels a day when itbuying oil from local producers In turn, hein In may of the followinhe oil, primarily to Standard Oils regionalts that made 22 barrelits first 24 hours showed the mineral possi-Cullinan shipped oil from Corsicana bybilities of the area and brought further drillinbut knowicould make more money for hishe Corsicana discovery killed off any lingering company by refining the product in Texas, hepatch, wherespent $150,000 to build a refinery in Navarreduction had dwindled to a barrel a day per weCounty

As twPulitzer Prize-winningwriter Marquis James latfields in Pennsylvania Ohioxaco, the East Texas refinery was"the firstd Kansas, and the Pennsylvanians quicklyworthye west of the mississirlost interest in the Texas enterprise and sold Though the facility distilled kerosene for lampsThe cobyegally dissolvercompaoline, most of which had to be disposed ofSouthern Oil, taking its place At the closeNo market for it existed897, Navarro County had 43 wells that hadWhile apparently seeing no future in gasoline,6000 barrelsullinan clearly thoughtnationally Heccesstully testedtanks, pipelines and refineries--oil is onlyfuel instead of coal and he came up with the ideacking aof sprinklings streets to allayCorsicana's dust, one of the first road"paving"projectsmayor invited another PennsylvanianTexas Waco and Fort Worth also gave CorsicanaNavarro County His name was J S Cullinancullinan hthecullinanPennsylvaniaivil War-era cannon, Whenever lightningthehenk firedardharged the old artilleryd shot a holewned by John D Rockefeller, was the worldsar the bottom of the tank to drain as mipany Cullinan worked for the oil as possible before it burnedlearning how to drillit hinwell erect a tank farmdown a pipdiscovery the Corsicana field consisted of

wells producing 65, 975 barrels That kind ofKansas after the oil play began on the basis ofdrillingcentury and beyond-a cycle of boom arcompanys machine shop Their inventiobust Soon, practically every town lot in revolutionized the oil industryhad been leased by the timefamed sdeclared wahe firstfield dev1937 mastersHavana hathe Cothesis, a study of the East Tefield had 287 prodmethod of drillingNot only did Corsicana see construction ofrn, here the first southwestern pipeline wasthe states first major refinery, it became thefirst Texas community to benefit ecooil was first utilized for paving streets andry As wouldnd again in later years, the play changensumpnIt was at Corsicana that natfrom aostly gas was first used for commercial heating andf which has grownctly what localseparate industry, vast in scope and regeey'd planned When federal censresidents, up substantially from 1890The boom, though modest compared withgrowth future discoveriesmulate in texas dramatically ind taxwith fundIty could afford toIn addition the Co1905Byout a far-sighted piece of legislation, a pioIs CIvil War-vintage cannon was used arhe output of the field had already peaked, neemental measure that marked theCorsicana to puncture burning oil tanishaving reached top production in 1900tates first effort to regulate the oil businessarch29

1899d for twoand later signed into law by GoWhat happened in CordemonstratD Sayers, made it illegal to drill into a secondto all business-minded Texans that beyond theoil-bearing strata before "incasing" the welgenerate for everyone directlyAmong other things, it also required pluggingplier effect on the economy The states oilfor any agency with oversight over oil produercementlawsuitsTwo early figures in the soon-to-blossom oilOil would continue to be a significant factorproduction equipment industry, brothers C Earro Countys economy for yearsand MC Bakerrro countyAs late as the 1950s Corsicana touted the fact1895 from South Dakota, where they had beenpulation included 21 millionairesdrilling water wells with a hydraulic rotary rigThats why the city boastedmake the drilling easier, they pumped low- the highest per capita income of any Texas towndensity mud into the hole WhenHowever its gauged, the early play in Naychnique in Corsicana, they found theyTexas a talehat proveda well in half to threehandtime it took to drill with a traditional cable tooland the nation--entered the new age of petroleng up with the owners of Americarbig time, And JS Cullinan and others withWell Prospecting Co, which had relocated frombe key players

CHAPTER 2SPINDLETOPA GREL GEYSERlwo years before the accidental petroleum discovery in Corsicana, a man who had only a fewGod besearchPatillo "Bud"HigginsHis first discovery hise in 1885 when he becad at a baptistHiggins had killedthe same gunfight which felled the lawman, aleft arm Wheion set in, a doctor had to amputate most of theimb Having lost ahe at leastourt hisury of hispeers that Higgins had slain the officer in self-defense, not plain mannesAs is the case with most important discoveries, Higgins's quest for oil was born of pragmaticd hayn in seeking thfire the kilns at a brick plant he operated, Higgins concluded oil would be the best bet He hadout-of-state brickHiggins had believeduld be fohe featooked like a hill oarison with the flat coastal plain around it His certitude was based"Wall Street"of Beaumont duringon more than a hunch He had taken his sunday school class to the hill for a picnic, and while there the boomhe noticed several small springs with gas bubbling up Poking a holed nearby, he lit avery interestinghad sent for, Higgins read by kelanteright late into the night In 1892, now fully convilay beneath the hill others called Spindletopor a cone-shaped pine tree on top), he found three Beaumont businessmen willing to invest somemoney and organized the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Co

Gladys City, named for oneHiggins Sunday school classgination and the fandthepays stationeryThe street fighter turned businessman envisioned Gladys City as a futurerial metropolisbut just about everyone else in the area saw his proposed city and the oil play he predicted as nothingbut a pipe dream Higgins talked his partners into backing a testhe hill and893hhired a driller to spud in a well Bad weather and slow going ate up available money and higginscancelled the test He managed to raise money for a secon

d test, but the driller did not haved the well ended up abandoned and plugged against his adinvestors opted for a third try, which also floppedBy this time, 1898, Higgins had sold his brick plant as well ascompany What he did still have was leased acreage that included Spindwilling to take a chanlother hole he couldle out ahead ifonvinced mining engineer Anthony F Lucas, then living in Washingtwas the early term for drilling) another well on the hill Lucas set about trying to raisemoney for a tesgiven the historyetop no one wag to take a chancehe idthefrom Pennsylvania who haddewiggins was not in on it (By this time, so many differentthe other in the quest foSpindletopuld bered a nice living from future litigat

taking up theounty, Curt a salesman and Al a cowboy), gotHamills and Galey had met when he wassaid as A wd"that a Mdng anear book the train to beafootOctober, the brothers shipped a rotary drillingg from Corsicana to Southeast Texase Hamills got a derrick built and all theirAlove: Patillo Higgins had one arm and onework proved to be brutally hard and thedrilling crew consisted of only threegCurt and A, W Hamill and Peck Byrd Theyhowing of oil When brother Cd byrdBclow: Naming it for one of the girls in histhe rig around the clock, not out of impatiensarrived with breakfast they dispatched byrd toSunday school class, Patillo Higginsmake hole, as oil workers call the drillingho lived about aorganized the Gladys City Oil, Gas andbut to lessen the possibility of aasked Hamill hedisastrous gas blow out They had alreadyuch of a well he thouuld makehe small pocket of gas, and felt that keeping已y exPerience ahe circulatory pumps going all night wouldg small wewells in the Corsicana fieldrevent a danasily make 50 barrels a dayBy Christmas Eved had finalough with considerablePROSP E C T U Sthrough the sandhard formationd see we threes were worked down "Hamill said

soTbe True History ofggested thedown for the holiday Thatthe Beaumontwas fine with the young drillersBack at the rig on new Years day 1901 theOil Fieldsfired up the boiler again and resumed drilling,making 140 more feet by the end of the weekButen it seemed that the drill would go no fartherOn January 9wired his brother inas possible The following morning, Atrain at the depot to pick up the bit Returning tethe well site, he helped the rest of the teamHIGGINS STANDARD OIL COMPANY, Limiteddrill attached and thenstartedputting drill pipe back

First editionpyright o 2015 HPNbooksAll nights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writingGalm road Suite4

Phone(800)749-9790BN:978-1-939300ry of CongressNumber:201593510IThe Unconventional Historycontributing writer for"Sharing the HeritoHPNbookspresidentWynn BuckadministrationDonna m maelissa G Quinnbook sales: Dee Steidleproduction: Colin Hartenda tarazon krouseyn Hart

cONTENTSNTRODUCTION6 PROLOGUE8 CHAPTER Iearly Oil4 Chapter 228 ChaPTER 3North texas40 ChAPTER 4The permian basin50 CHAPTER 5South texa4 ChAPTER 6More boomtown62 CHAPTERThe black giant72 chaPTER 8War and postwar82 chapter 9End of an Et86 CHAPTER 1OBoom and bust90 CHAPTERUnconventional Thinkinghale productio06C10 TEXAS OIL GAs IN photographs150EXAS ALLIANCE OF ENERGY PRODUCERS5I NOTABLE INDUSTRY FIGURES157 BIBLIOGRAPHY58 SHARING THE HERITAGE294 SPONSORS296 ABOUT296 ABOUT THE COVER

NTRODUCTIONBorn through dedication and stubbornness, the oil and gas industry in Texas has become aleconomic powerhouse that delivers jobs and prosperity to millions of people throughout the worldThe sthe heartaches of fis a story of drilling a hole deep beneath the Earth with the hope of producing hydrocarbonse history of petroleum is controversial, but overvalueand natural gasbecame important as a transportation fuel, electric power gmilitary forces usednston Churchill proclaimed that the"Allies floatedry on a sea of East Texasluence US

foreign policyofnal indunal technologyal results It is a story of risk takers that have achieved greatnessAlex millsPresident and Chief of STexas Alliance of Energy Producers

AUTHOR’ S NOTEemember, when I was a teenager in the early 1960s, traveling with my granddad to Albanyg and fishing To get there from Austin, not that I paid much attentiodays, we had to drive through Breckenridge Even as a kid, I was struck by the fact thd such a tall building for such a smallhat's because Breckenridge used to beand woolly oil boom town, my granddad told me And then, inveterate story teller that he was, heregale me with his recollectmuch about it is because he was there As a young reporter, he covered the Ranger oil boom ineld newspaper based in Fort Worth, and also laterity editor of the also defunct Fort Worth PiListening to Granddadshard forhat it had been likehose early days of oil exploratie been interested in Texas oil and gas ever since

Alas, the only money I've ever madebeen funsearching and writing this beot being able to tellenough good stories, and fascinating characters, to fill a multi-volume set of books So, in readinghis book please keep in mind thatou will find to bekerstindFinally, I'd like to thank Beverly Waak, a long-time reader and lover of books who grew upthe refinery community of Baytown She graciouslyanuscrpbook, gentlyintnrs and areas needing clarification She aok thewhen i met Beverly I struck it ricleres hopinghis explorahe industryhelpedMike coxAustin o

PROLOGUEWhen Virginia-born Enoch Horton brought his wife Martha and 10 of theRepublic of Texas from Missouri in November 1844, all he sought was a piece of good land wherehis children and make640-acre tract he obtained through the St Louis-based Texas Land and Emigration Company,Peters colay adjacent to a shallow strethe westFork of the Trinity river, about six miles west of a new settlement called Dallas, Other travelerchere horton had built his cabrth Texas thg became a well-used ford When faaised the Trinity too high for horses and wagons, Horton took in aferrying people andhe day when Horton saw an eagle's nest high in a nearby tree, he decided to call theord A man that observant may have noticed a multi-layered outcropping of shiny, dark gray rockexposed along the bank of the rihe could not have envisioned the future significance ofnose mud rocks and the vast underand gas--that stretchedfor hundmiletilting plane all the way to the Mexicalrder But longEnoch Hortons time, long after his children's time and even their children's time, a huge chunkbterranean Texas that came to be called the Eagle Ford Shale, a formation dating back to thed transfele first decade of the 2lst ciglemake the United States the word long, wide swath of oil production in South Texas that helpedFord-became synonymoustop energy producer, eclipsing even the oil-sodden emirateSaudi arabTexas had already seen one transformation caused by oil and gas-decades of boom and bust that量the state the third component of antriad that

in addition to cotton and cattle definedTexas until the development of the high tech industry became the fourth leg of the tablear more constant than the erratic value of a barre life and death cycle of oand gas wihe petrays to get the job done Since the 1890has often beerelated technology Less tangible than stacks of patents for drill bits, blowout preynd pump jacks is a way of thinking that influenced many pioneer oilmen and still holds today-take a chance on something most others see as foolhardy if not downright impossibTegame, but many others risked everything and kept dques ustruWildcatters, "as the History Channels Empires of Industry series put it, "made and lost fortfor black gold Like the goldf an earlieradventurers dreamed of wresting fortunes from the earth Their target was oil, and their destination

was Texas, Part gambler, part geologist, a wildcatter risked everything to drill a hole in the groundthe hopes of becoming an instant millionaire Wildcatters turned sleepy hamlets into boomtowns,d ameidustry not only helped build Texas, but the money that discoveries on 14of University of Texas-owned land in West Texas has brought in over the years has helped educategeneratf young Texans In 20 13 the university made $I billion from oil and gas

In additionmpanies helped fundBeyond that, the philantloney has gone to support everything fromhealth care to scientific research to libraries and the fine arts Invested oil money even gave Texasional footbalhe money received from oil has contributed more than any single source to the building up ofs modern roads, hotels, office buildings, and universities, and it has contributed more than anyother factor to make it possible for the whole United States to have low-priced motor fuel andtomobiles thanengineenng prolesFrederick B pBig oil is a Texas icon supported by hardworking men and women and a colorful cast of wheelerdealer characters-pastesent real and ficthose story alone could fill volumes Writersfield of oilfieldtudies and a tank truck of fiollywood has addedmix, with movies like the 194Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy classic "Boomtown"and an even bigger film, 1956s"Giant"witd Elizabeth Taylhis is the story of Tegas, an unconventional history of an industry that has benefitedthe state theMAGNOLIA PETROLEUM: AO

CHAPTEEARLY OILe betweent sabine pass and high isla543 survivors of hernaDesotos ill-fated expedition to further explore the New World for Spain noted a thickating in the brackish coastal water Later referring to it as cope, the Spaniards--forced inland by alike material to caulk the bottomvessels beforethey resumed theiy Merely one of historys myriad footnotes, it neverthelessd theeum product by non-natives in what would become the unitenturies later as Texas begas seeps here andhad no real eNACOGDOCHEShe amedustry9-1ths beforethe Civil War-when Edwin T Drake supletion of the fiColonel, "is generally the first to appear in any history of the oil industry, the jack-of-all-trades andp with the idea of extracting oil from thedng it into a highly sought product called kewyer George Bis the one who actuallyg on the growingdemand for lamp oil by mining wletable oranimal oils) and marketinlight American homes and offices Bissell's motivation had nothingwith altruism He pursuedshingle, was sorh of

to finance his scheme he teamed up with Johnanas 1890s oil play led to thefirst refinery and generated a talent poolTownsend, in turn, happened to live in the same hotel with the then out of work Drake, wlthat helped shape the petroleum industrthe drilling of an oil well near the timber town of Titusville, Pa, -a hilly area in Texasg known for its numerous oil seeps The discovery well, drilled by a blacksmith named williamel" drakme in at 69pitated the first NorthAmerican oil boomDown in Texas, Lynis Taliaferro Barret must have been an inveterate newspaper reader Fourmonths after Drake hit oil, Barret executed an agreement giving him mineral rights teage called Oil Springs, 13 miles southeast of Nacogdoches in the pinepot was well-kne1790 and used oil from it to lubir cart and waAs a merchant and half-Melrose barreappreciated the sales potential of the relatively new-fangled, kerosene-fueled lamp A sudden natdemand for what was then known as"illuminating oil "had pushed the price of a barrel of oil to $2a drilling operation, sectional differences broughtorth and eleven seceding Southern states which reorganized themselves as the Confederate States ofAmerica Born in Virginia and loyal to that verwealth, Barret interrupted his career inJuan Lopez Saenz, a Tejano rancher in South Teto Duval County in 1854 The rancho he established stimulated a settlement briefly known as Noledalasting name, Piedras Pintas, That's Spanish for painted rocks, whichwhat a nearby geologicoked like