ALL ABOARD FOR OIL COUNTRY!
Kathy J. Flaherty, ABARTA Oil & Gas Company, Inc., 1000 Gamma Drive, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15238, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Wildest Excitement Prevails In This Field To-nite.”
“Oil Men Excited.”
“A Real Gusher.”
Although sandwiched between the fish market report and miscellaneous grocery news columns deep within the daily newspapers, headlines such as these invited attention. Is it any wonder that excursions to the oil regions were popular? Daily summaries of oleaginous pursuits populated newspaper columns. Articles overflowing with urgency and enthusiasm alternated with articles brimming with the despair of dry holes and decreased oil production. Drilling activity in each new geographical area refreshed the phenomenon. Oilfield correspondents speculated about everything: the depth to pay sand, any up-hole indications of oil, reservoir quality, the time until the pay was reached, geological trends, plans and intentions of the well owners and operators, and even the chances of success for an offsetting well. Hourly production, drilling progress, shipments, fluctuations in oil output and other such parameters made up a regular portion of the oilfield news.
“Oil fever” invaded society from the poorest looking for work to the wealthiest seeking investment opportunities. Oil region visitors varied in their interests and motivations, but all wanted a first-hand look at the oil patch. Investors, future oil men, land-lease brokers, competitors, oil scouts, gentility, schemers, reporters, photographers, scientists, rig hands, roughnecks and the just plain curious found their way to the oil fields. Just plain curious myself, I tagged along on a few oilfield “excursions” through the archives. This article shares a few of those adventures.