Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
5Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
THE OIL GAME - 1928

THE OIL GAME - 1928

Ratings:

5.0

(1)
|Views: 186 |Likes:
Published by webworker
"In the Gulf Coast region of
Texas, almost every oil field is located on the apex or flanks of a salt dome.
These domes are the peaks of deeply
buried mountain ranges, and the oil andgas have in some manner found theirway up the slopes of these ridges and peaks to porous beds along their flanks or on their tops, where the oil is gatheredin pools under pressure..."
"In the Gulf Coast region of
Texas, almost every oil field is located on the apex or flanks of a salt dome.
These domes are the peaks of deeply
buried mountain ranges, and the oil andgas have in some manner found theirway up the slopes of these ridges and peaks to porous beds along their flanks or on their tops, where the oil is gatheredin pools under pressure..."

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: webworker on Jul 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/25/2013

pdf

text

original

 
THE
OIL
GAME
BytheLate EDWIN
THEODORE
DUMBLET
SOME
months ago as
I
was walkingalong the bank of a creek which flowsbeside the old ice pond at my home inVirginia,
I
was struck by the appear-ance on the water of circles of iridescentcolors such as may be seen on any wetstreet where oil has been dropped froman automobile."Gee-whiz!" said
I
lomyself. "Did
I
come up here fromTexas to forget there was such a thingas oil only to find oil springs on my ownplace?"I immediately cut me a sticklong enough to reach the colored patchesand proceeded to test them.
I
foundindeed that while the colors and circleswere quite similar to those of oil theydid not have the flow of oil circles, butwhen stirred they broke into an~larportions which did not readily reunite.
It
Was simply a Scum of organic Or fer-ruginous matter-and so
I
was sparedthe harassing trouble of opening up anew oil field.Oil as it occurs in nature is in realitya
series
of organic substances, beginning
with
light gases
and
passingdownwardthrough oils of various gravities toasphalt, asphaltine and carbon.
It
usually occurs as a mixture of severalgrades of these oils and gases.The questions as to the origin of oiland its manner of formation have bcenwidely discussed without any final agree-
merit
having been reached as to either.We know that volcanoes emit gases ofthe oil series that
some
of
these arecondensed into oil, but there is not suf-ficient of this to be of commercialim-portance.
E~
far
the greater
pa*
isderived from the decomposition of cer-tain animal and vegetable matters under
1
Formerly state geologist of Texas and laterconsulting geologist, vice-president and gen-
mmager
of
the
oil
of
the
Southern Pacific Company.
special conditions. At times this decom-position takes place in the open air andthe resulting oil is carried by water andabsorbed by sand beds. At others, itseems that the decomposition, in part atleast, tdces place
OR
the bottoms of verysalty lakes or seas, such as the DeadSea, but the alteration may also takeplace from remains buried in sedimentslaid down in salt-water. Apparentlysalt is a necessary adjunct to the gen-eration of oil, and in some districts theoil is found in direct connection with thesalt.Thus, in the Gulf Coast region ofTexas, almost every oil field is located onthe apex or flanks of a salt dome.These domes are the peaks of deeplyburied mountain ranges, and the oil andgas have in some manner found theirway up the slopes of these ridges andpeaks to porous beds along their flanksor on their tops, where the oil is gath-ered
in
pools
under pres-sure-hundreds
of
pounds
to
the
square
inch-and held until reached by thedrill, when
it
bursts out as gushers.
A
part of this pressure is from the in-eluded gases, but by far the larger partis hydrostatic and due to the accom-panyingThe salt masses of these domes some-times reach, nearly or quite, the f3urfaceof the ground,at Jefferson Island
in
Louisiana. At others the salt lies atdepths varying f1"om a hundred feet to
~WO
thousand feet or more. Some ofthese domes afford great mines of rocksalt.
I
was in one a few weeks agowhere the salt was being mined from adepth of over five hundred feet, andboring had proved the salt to be in asolid bed three thousand feet below thisand at least
a
mile in diameter.
541
The Scientific Monthly
, Vol. 26, No. 6. (Jun., 1928), pp. 541-550
 
542 THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY
A
part of the decomposition oforganic matter which results in theformation of oil is believed to be bac-terial. In California, much of the oil isderived from minute animalculae, whileelsewhere
it
seems to be from the re-mains of plants.Oil occurs in rocks of all geologic agesand in almost every quarter of the globe,but in many of these it proves to be intoo small quantities for satisfactorydevelopment. For instance, there areplaces where the oil dccurs impregnatingbeds of rock hundreds of feet in thick-ness and extending over thousands ofsquare miles and where the aggregate ofthe enclosed oil is far greater than thetotal production of the larger fields-and yet there is no available oil at all.
It
is simply disseminated through therock matcrial and car, not be separated.
It
is only where
a
number of favorableconditions combine that we find the oilpools which yield such stores of wealthand romance. Fortunately for theworld there are many such places. Inall these cases the oil occurs as actualoil.Of late there has been considerabletalk of the vast deposits of oil shale andthe great amounts of oil that can pos-sibly be recovered from them. There isno question as to the existence of im-mense deposits of these shales in theRocky Mountain region and on the westcoast as well as in Kentucky and othermore eastern states. But in none ofthese does the oil occur as actual oil butrather as potential oil-a substanceknown as keragin, which is allied to thefats and yields oil when subjected todestructive distillation. Other shalescarry resins which similarly yield oilwhen properly distilled. The possibilityof producing oil from these shales com-mercially is a problem of the future.From earliest times oil and gas havebeen known and used in eastern coun-tries. Gas springs and sipes were usedby ancient priests to keep perpetualfires on their altars or shrines, andasphalt was used as mortar in the wallsof Babylon and elsewhere. IIistory re-cords many uses o-Cthe oil in Persia,China and other regions
of
the east-and it was used medicinally by theAmerican Indians long before the dis-covery of America.Its real utilization, howevcr, beganwith the drilling of the Drake well inPennsylvania less than seventy yearsago, since which time the oil business hasgrown into one of the greatest industriesof the world.So great was the value of this indus-try to Pennsylvania that the GeologicalSurvey, under Professor Lesley, made aspecial study of
it
and by their workgreatly aided in its extension. One ofthegcologisls engaged in this work wasmy friend, Dr.
I.
C. White, who decidedthat as the rocks and rock conditions ofthe Pennsylvania oil fields could betraced into West Virginia, he could seeno reason why the oil pools should notalsa be found there.This was the earliest application ofstrictly geological work to oil field inves-tigation. He found little encouragementamong the people who should have beenmost interested, and finally decided toventure the drilling of a well or wells toprove or disprove his theory. 13e foundthe oil and made West Virginia afamous oil and gas producer, and inaddition he secured for himself not onlya considerable fortune in money but amost enviable reputation as an oil geolo-gist. It was through my personalknowledge of him and his work that
I
began my investigations in Texas, Cali-fornia and Mexico along the same lines.Tl~e earch for oil is really a mostentrancing occupation, but possibly it isthe enthusiast who knows least aboutthe game who gets the greatest thrill outof it, although there is usually a plentyof excitement for everybody.
It
is a great gamble, a game fraughtwith continual surprises. Many, in factmost, of these surprises prove to be bit-ter disappointments, resulting as they
 
THE
OIL
GAME 
do in the loss of time and of much moneyfrom drilling and finding only a dryhole. Occasionally oil is struck by themore fortunate and in such large quan-tities as to bring a rapid rise to wealthunsurpassed by any other calling in theworld. It is these occasional yields ofgreat fortunes which are usually her-alded abroad, while the losers arequickly forgotten. But even those whofail, time and time again, seem infectedwith a growing optimism which will notlet them acknowledge defeat-and some-times a change of luck puts them in theranks of the plutocrats.
I
might sayalso that at the present time the oilgame is a very' expensive one. Whileour company has had wells costing onlythree to five thousand dollars thatquickly paid for themselves in only aday or two, yet on the other hand wehave had wells that cost from a hundredthousand to two hundred thousand dol-lars that never produced a drop of oil.
I
suppose that the average well in theLos Angeles district to-day costs fiftythousand or more. This is not
a
gameof penny ante in which a man of mod-erate meam can afford to indulge.The discovery of oil is usually due tothe occurrence on the surface of theearth or water, of gas blows or oil sipes,which may show as simple colorings andslight flows of oil, or which may expandinto pools or even into lakes. In otherwords, oil very frequently, but notalways, discovers itself. Once it isknown to exist in
a
region, however,there are many minor signs which indi-cate its probable occurrence at differentplaces in the vicinity, such as salt orsulphur water in wells, what is knownas paraffine dirt, slight al-ching or dom-ing
of
the overlying rock material, etc.
;
and it is to all these that the searcherfor oil gives his attention. Althoughthe surface indications show the pres-ence of oil, close geological study isnecessary to determine just how and inwhat connection the oil occurs, so thatit can be traced from these surfacedeposits to the hidden pools which yieldthe principal supplies. The geologistalso uses the knowledge he gains fromsuch study to find other and similarpools where there are no such surfaceindications, and sometimes hundreds ofmiles from the original locality of hiswork, At present, too, it is the geologistwho really directs the drilling and who,through recently improved methods ofresearch, is able to say exactly in whatbeds the oils of different localities occurand to advise the driller as he passesthrough the overlyirlg beds just exactlywhere he is, how these beds are relatedto the oil and how saon the oil will bestruck.It may be of interest to tcll how suchan extraordinary thing is possible thatwe can recognize a bed of clay or sandor rock from
a
mere handful of frag-ments brought up by the drill fromthousands of feet below the surfacewhen similar beds may not be found onthe surface for a distance of many miles.In regions where the harder rocks pre-vail, such as limestones and sandstones,it is possible to recognize some of themby their composition, color or texture,or by such fragmentary fossils as theymay contain; but in our Gulf region,where the materials are uncompactcdclays and sands and fossils are veryscarce, this was practically impossibleuntil
I
devised and put in operation anentirely new method of examinationabout five years ago.The most of the sands and clayswhich we encounter in this region weredeposited in the salt and brackish watersof ocean, gulf or bay. In all such watersthere is usually a wealth of living formsof very minute organisms, which weknow as foraminifera. These foraminif-era, although too small to be seenclearly by the naked eye, have tests orshells which on the death of the organ-ism fall to the bottom and are buried inthe deposits of silt or clay or sandbrought out by the rivers from the land.These organisms are as varied as those

Activity (5)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
alimilton72 liked this
geomy liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->