Geological and Engineering Thinking in the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana - Past, Present, and Future
- Michel T. Halbouty (Petroleum Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1957
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 19 - 20
- 1957. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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To understand the present situation and the future possibilities of the Gulf Coastal province, it is important to go back to New Year's Day, 1901, and review the status of world production and the extent of the application of science to the finding of oil.
The world's annual production was about 138 million bbl. Russia was the leading oil producing nation with an annual output of 68 million bbl. Of the 58 million bbl being produced in the United States, 92 per cent, or 53 million, was from the so-called "oil region" of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New York. Four million, or 6 per cent, was from California, and the remaining 1 million, or 2 per cent, was produced in Texas, solely from the Corsicana field.
Learned men, and the big-time operators of that day paid little attention to new oil possibilities of other areas. When a new field, such as that in Corsicana, was found, it disturbed the thinking of the young industry. Corsicana was not very exciting to producers because the average production per well was about that of the wells in the other fields in the country. As far as the Gulf Coast was concerned, the best brains in the business said that the area would never produce any oil whatsoever, that the unconsolidated sands underlying the Coast area could have no oil, and that the region as a whole was unworthy of testing with the drill.
The Spindletop Discovery
That was the setting on New Year's Day, 1901. Then suddenly, like the cascade of a torrential flash flood, 10 days later at 10:30 a.m. the discovery of Spindletop changed the thinking of man the world over. It completely revolutionized industrial engineering and gave birth to the liquid fuel age. This significant discovery made a revolutionary impact on the entire world. It made the United States the foremost oil producing nation overnight. It was to catapult the United States into the position of first world power, although it would take a few years and a world war to bring about the full realization of that fact.
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