Survival to most people connotes catastrophy. The association most often is to war, earthquake, flood, or fire. Survival is a favorite of the clergy and heard often on the sawdust trail. Teachers used it on some of us who barely scraped through school. It once characterized the Mets and some say the Dallas Cowboys — up to the Super Bowl. Like it or not, the petroleum industry appears to be entering a new phase in its evolution petroleum industry appears to be entering a new phase in its evolution that, to me, looks like the beginning of a struggle for survival. White hats no longer are sold to oil men. We can't seem to -do anything right.

Success in continually producing better and better products at stable and almost bargain prices, in spite of ever-increasing costs, turns out to be a handicap. This capital intensive industry can't generate enough cash from operations to carry on even a reduced level of exploration and development and also add to transportation, refining and marketing facilities. Some companies even borrowed money to bid on federal tracts at the last sale in the Gulf off Louisiana. Others give away part of their leasehold interest to a drilling fund or syndicate for capital to drill prospects. The gas shortage added some welcome new money in advance prospects. The gas shortage added some welcome new money in advance payments, but this source doesn't seem like a long-range solution. payments, but this source doesn't seem like a long-range solution. We know we find the easy fields first and that money goes farther drilling relatively shallow wells onshore than deep wells offshore in deep water. We develop a strong sense of urgency from a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week effort to find and produce oil and gas - a process that is almost impossible to stop and then start up again. We have learned that the best oil fields usually turn out to be in the worst places. We know how precarious to our national security A is to have a reserve-life ratio of less than ten years for our domestic oil or gas reserves.

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