Oil drilling in our area dates back to 1950s

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, February 17, 2010

By By Lowell McGill
Back in the 1940s interest in oil drilling surfaced in south Alabama. It was somewhat common to hear earth shaking seismograph dynamite ground blasts, which helped drillers find oil.
After a couple of years most exploration ended and it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that oil made its real debut with wells springing up in and around Citronelle.
A few years later, Pollard became the hot spot and it then mushroomed all over south Alabama and into northwest Florida.
Satellite imaging is now used to determine where pools of petroleum are deposited beneath earth’s surface. Although, some drilling companies still use the traditional blasting methods.
After a lull in drilling the Atmore area has now become the hot spot. In fact, new drilling permits are being issued by the State Oil and Gas Board each month.
The State of Alabama is the lucky one right now as most of the drilling has occurred on lands near the prisons at State Farm. Although, some wells are being drilled off State property.
Someone asked me to find out where state oil money goes. I really was not interested. However, I made a couple phone calls without success. But, I will continue to pursue it. I do know the one producing state well is generating good revenue for the state and things will even get better if the new wells become producers.
I don’t go too far for the Mason Property oil news because my wife and her cousins keep me up to date on their well. In fact, I still remember her 100-year-old grandfather, Mr. Rue Mason. I also remember that sharp looking family owned 1930s green and yellow Chevy with a fashionable rumble seat . It was displayed in the Staff Chevrolet showroom in later years.
Some ask me why print all this oil news.
Well, let me say this. If wells continue to become producers then oil and gas separation plants and refineries will be built. And, this means good jobs for those who are qualified to work in these technical fields.
While a few are frustrated with exposure to oil news ,many others tell me to keep it up. I am not an expert by any means, but I am glad I chose geology for my basic science courses when I was a student at the University of Alabama back in the mid-1950s. Those courses provided me basic oil drilling terminology, which has helped me in my writing oil stories. (I also remember that talc rock was identified by its unique taste.)
You younger readers know about the movie “Jurassic Park,” where all the dinosaurs rambled throughout the land. Well, this is the layer where the Smackover foundation yields gas and oil in pools about 15,000-16,000 feet below the earth’s surface.
The Pollard Field wells pump oil from much shallow depths.
Since Venture Drilling Company and Pruitt Production Company initiated recent area drilling in our area, I find other drilling companies now “getting in on the action.” (See my current drilling report in this column.)
There seems to be a “block of interest” extending from some portions of McCullough and Huxford all the way to southwestern Conecuh County.
This also includes a good portion of Butler Street beginning at the Mason well and going north into Monroe County.
I also am hearing that some plugged wells may be revisited. If this is the case, then you know drilling companies have high hopes for this area.
Now, let’s take a look at the current drilling report from the Alabama Gas and Oil Board.
A new drilling company, Renaissance Petroleum, has received a drilling permit in Escambia County.
It is the Craft- Black Stone 17-5 No. 1 unit (1424’FNL &868FWL SW17, T3N, R9E. (More exact information pinpointing this site next week).
Venture Gas and Oil has a new permit for Black Stone 4-4 No.1 near McCullough 927’FNL &1003’FWL S4, T2N, R5E. Permit depth is 15,650 ft.
Venture is expected to announce another drilling site next week. It will, unofficially, be located near their Hauss Nursery producer on state property.
Venture has reached 5,000 feet on its Fountain Farm 3-13 No. 1 well, which is located near Fountain Prison. This well has a permit depth of 15,700 feet. Venture was unsuccessful with a well directly in rear of that prison a few months ago. But recent seismograph data has prompted another attempt.
Pruitt Production has set up location on its newest drilling site. It is the Chunn Properties (1554’ FSL &2359’ FEL S12T3N, R6E) near Butler Street, 3-5 miles north of the Mason producer.
Pruitt and Ventex Drilling have not released any new information on their Simpson and Andreeff-Floyd wells, respectively, in Monroe County.
Ventured plugged its Indigo Minerals unit in Conecuh County this week. There are currently over a dozen wells being drill in Conecuh. Some of these wells are only a short distance from the Barnett Field and Butler Street in south Monroe and northeast Escambia Counties.
So, for those of you who are interested in drilling activity, I am delighted in being able to keep you updated.
And, for those of you who complain about these oil stories, let me suggest you realize your son or grandson may want a job in this oil related field one day.
Next week, I have some information about the Internet.
Did you know that in the future fees may be assessed Internet Web sites including the readers and producers of these Web sites? Those producers had better be good to advertisers because they will need all the advertising revenue they can get.
Rupert Murdoch, the Fox network chief has already begun to tell us about it. His successful efforts, especially Fox News, are causing nightmares to several TV channels and Internet Web sites.
Yes, the media world becomes more competitive each day, doesn’t it?
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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