A brief history of the petroleum business in Texas.
December 25, 2017 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I grew up through the 70’s and 80’s Texas oil boom in dallas.

This article gave me a perspective on my life I’ve never had.

Thanks for posting.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:12 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fascinating history.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 12:36 PM on December 25, 2017

I appreciated the ending optimism, even if it was a little tempered.
posted by lilies.lilies at 12:45 PM on December 25, 2017

The modern Railroad Commission has sold itself as a conservation agency. Don't over produce and waste the resource. Thanks for the reminder of their more colorful past!
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:45 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

There has been blood.
posted by Chitownfats at 2:14 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

That but about the history of fracking is half bs. Fracking had been the shifty geologist s saving grace for ages. If you missed the play you could just blow it up.

Fracking didn't t become profitable until the US Congress banned the EPA from regulating the groundwater impacts in 2005. Once they got rid of the safe drinking water act, TX and LA shales started to blow up. But don t pretend that all the geologists didn't t know exactly what would happen to the groundwater.
posted by eustatic at 8:47 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

What makes this boom(ish) different is that there isn't anyone in oil or gas who doesn't recognize that they are going to be put out of the energy business as soon as the generation, transmission and storage of renewables permits, in the same way that gas is a fair part of the way to putting coal out of the energy business. Oil and gas will retain a role in petrochemical feedstocks, and there will always be some metallurgical coal, but those are not going to be big businesses. Reducing renewables subsidies will only slightly slow this. Nobody knows how long and when the demand-decline curve really starts to kill margins because of fixed costs ... but they all know it.

The article makes this point indirectly talking about ERCOT's embrace of wind-power and rig counts being relatively low. (Right now, despite the price of oil doubling off the February 2016 lows, and gas being steady, rigs are less than half of where they were in mid-2014).
posted by MattD at 5:56 AM on December 26, 2017

My great-grandfather was Patillo Higgins. There are many family tales about him, including the tawdry facts behind the shoot-out with the sheriff's deputy. After he lost his arm in that gun battle he had leave the lumber jack business and look for another line of work. He decided to make bricks, and while looking for a better way to fire them noticed the oil seeps at Spindletop. The rest is history.

Higgins made and lost three fortunes in the oil business over the first few decades of the 20th century. The family still gets income from some of his wells, which have been producing a barrel or two of oil every day for as much as 80 years.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:26 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am willing to be corrected, but I thought that ground water contamination problems are largely caused by improper disposal of fracking fluids, not by the actual fracking of the oil & gas wells. Most shale formations are very deep in the ground, well below sea level, and so have no connection to ground water wells. These formations are so deep that the water that comes out of them is salty (this is part of the reason you have to dispose of the water by injecting it deep into the ground.) It is a waste disposal problem.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:05 AM on December 26, 2017

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