In Texas in the 1930’s-1950’s oil men would meet in cafe’s or hotel lobbies for lunch, spread their maps out on tables and talk oil. Everyone knew everyone else.
But gone are the trademark Stetson hats of landmen and engineers with the spray of oil worn like a badge of honor. The uniform today is more Brooks Brothers and Armani – buttoned down and pinstriped.
Very little directly related to the industry is visible today – gone are the refineries in midwestern towns, the railway tank cars, and gritty service yards that labeled world-class oil cities. Only, parks, churches and hospitals remain that give testament to the wealth pulled up from deep inside the countrysides.
What remains visible are oil derricks dotted across the United States and the Middle East and all the by-products I mentioned in earlier blogs.
Now that we’ve established what a wildcatter is. How did these inquisitive men find the land to drill on?
This my friends is a long and checkered story, but in the early days it was luck.
In 1887 a water well was drilled in Tarrant County Texas and the driller happened to find oil. Subsequently, the first oil and gas lease on record was initiated. Compensation was 5% of net value for gas found and 5% net value for any petroleum found. By 1949 there were 24 failed attempts to find oil and gas in Tarrant County, all drilled at about 1000 feet. If this happens the wells are capped off and abandoned. Tune in to find out what happens next.