North Central Texas has recently become a center of interest for the oil menof America. The bringing in of the McClosky well at Ranger, Eastland County, and the shallow pool at Brownwood, Brown County, in 1917, has stimulatedinterest in this area to fever pitch. Oil men from all over the United Statesare now investing there. The area of present interest is shown by theaccompanying map (Fig. 1).
The money spent in leases runs into millions of dollars. It is no exaggerationto say that a strip of country 200 miles (321 km.) long and 125 miles (201 km.)wide, comprising some 15,000,000 acres (6,070,310 ha.), has been leasedpractically solid at a cost for rentals and bonuses of at least $1 per acre.The test holes contracted for will certainly number 400, at a cost of at least $5,000,000. From what has been done in the past six months, $20,000,000 atleast will be spent. To pay returns on this amount of money, new production tothe extent of at least 12,000,000 bbl. must be obtained. At present, theproduction from new fields will not average over 5000 bbl. per day; three wellsat Ranger are producing 3000 bbl.; 250 wells at Brownwood produce 1000 bbl.;and the Gray well, Coleman County, is as yet an unknown factor.
However, at Ranger there is every indication of developing a good pool coveringfrom 1500 to 2000 acres (607 to 809 ha.), more or less, but the wells are deep,3400 to 3800 ft. (1036 to 1158 m.), and cost $35,000 to $40,000 to drill. Largewells are necessary to pay for such expensive holes. As new wells are drilled, the gas pressure will be lowered rapidly, and large production need not beexpected. For those oil men who expect a second Cushing or an Eldorado, Rangerholds little of promise.
At Brownwood, Brown County, there are some 250 shallow wells (depths from 200to 350 ft.) averaging 4 to 7 bbl. per day. There is a chance of an extensiveproducing area for these shallow sands to the southwest, and the opening ofseveral thousand acres of shallow oil territory, and also some promise ofdeeper oil horizons in the Ranger horizon, but probably all under 2500ft.
At present, the lease brokers and speculators, and only a handful of oil men, have made any money. More fields must be developed, and it is more particularlywith these possibilities that this paper deals. Lack of water for drillingpurposes has undoubtedly held back development so far this year; this part ofTexas has had a drought for two years and there is an actual scarcity ofwater.