Essay about Oil and Texas: A Cultural History

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Oil and Texas: A Cultural History "Soon the 4-inch drill pipe…shot skyward. After the mud, water, and pipe were blown out, gas followed, but only for a short time. Then the well was very quiet. We ventured back, after our wild scramble for safety, to find things in a terrible mess...We started shoveling the mud away-when, without warning, a lot of heavy mud shot out of the well with the report of a cannon…In a very short time oil was going up through the top of the derricks, and rocks were being shot hundreds of feet into the air. Within a very few minutes, the oil was holding a steady flow at more than twice the height of the derrick…” —A. W. Hamill (one of the drillers at Spindletop) Houston Daily Post Texas tea, black gold, crude,…show more content…
The discovery of oil at Spindletop triggered a flood of speculation in the surrounding areas, which led to several other significant discoveries, including: Sour Lake, Batson and Humble. Because of the excess of oil being found and refined, prices for oil dropped to three cents a barrel—a huge difference from the $107.94 a barrel today (Williams). Texas’ history with oil starts much earlier than the 1901 Spindletop gusher. As early as 1543, there were reports of natural oil seeps along the coast of Texas which was used as both medical treatments and caulking for boats by Spanish explorers (Wooster). In 1866, the first of Texas’ oil producing wells was drilled in Nacogdoches County, however the supply and profit was not high enough to justify further development. In 1895 in Corsicana, Texas there was a minor oil find that led to the creation of Texas’ first oil refinery in Nacogdoches, Texas. Another large oil find is the East Texas Oil Field which spans 140,000 acres and is considered to be the largest oil field in the United States (excluding Alaska); this oil field has produced over 5.2 billion barrels from its 30,340 historic and active oil wells (Smith). The Spindletop oil pool was what is known as a salt dome oil field. It was the first salt-dome oil discovery in Texas. A salt dome forms when masses of salt develop underground and are pushed up towards the surface by pressure in the earth

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