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Although it would be put on the “List of Get-Rich Quick Promoters” by one investment magazine, the National Union Oil & Gas Company drilled a deep well in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin half a century before major discoveries there.

The company filed for incorporation in Oklahoma on August 25, 1916, financing its operations through the sale of stock. By May 1917, the company drilled successful wells in Sumner County, Kansas, with total production exceeding 4,000 barrels.

By February of 1919, World’s Work magazine reported National Union Oil & Gas Company’s capitalization of $1 million – but also placed the company on its “List of Get-Rich Quick Promoters.”

The company nonetheless pursued investors in Custer County, Oklahoma, and spudded a deep test well five miles north of Clinton on February 26, 1920.

“The derrick of the National Union Oil & Gas Company is among the first of the forest of derricks that will likely transform the Custer County landscape,” the Western Oil Derrick newspaper optimistically reported.

Although the company’s 1920 deep-well experiment failed to find an oilfield, in 1979 a well drilled just a few miles away produced natural gas from 24,996 feet. The No. 1 Sanders well was part of the Anadarko Basin natural gas boom.

“For 20th century’s final quarter the basin remains the frontier of deep drilling technology centered on Elk City, ‘Deep Gas Capital of the World,'” notes the According to the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma.

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The Anadarko Basin is a geologic feature covering about 50,000 square miles in west-central Oklahoma and northern Texas.

“The shallow horizons of Greater Anadarko account for much of this nation’s proved gas reserves,” the association adds. “The Deep Anadarko Basin of Western Oklahoma is one of the most prolific gas provinces of North America.”

Expanding operations in 1921, the National Union Oil & Gas board of directors proposed acquisition of the Modern Refining Company, which owned a 1,000 barrel a day refinery in Blackwell, Oklahoma. This required an increase of capital stock to $250,000 and a one-for-one exchange of shares with Modern Refining Company.

Still seeking new oil production, the company drilled two wells in the town of Oxford, Kansas, sharing the risk with several companies for one of the wells. The other, the Collins No. 1 well, was near the corner of today’s West College Street and North Sumner Avenue. Few details remain about either well.

In July, August and September 1922, National Union Oil & Gas produced a total of 7,572 barrels, according to Oil Weekly. Meanwhile, dozens of major discoveries were occurring in the area around Seminole, Oklahoma, and in the Texas Permian Basin. Learn more in “Greater Seminole Oil Boom” and “Santa Rita taps Permian Basin.”

As late as February 1925, the Oklahoma City company was still actively pursuing leases, paying $40,000 for one valuable 80-acre parcel. Litigation apparently followed in 1933. Thereafter, the research trail goes cold. Online collectors offer the obsolete National Union Oil & Gas stock certificates for sale.

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The Texas Oil & Refining Company (sometimes known as Douglas-Texas Oil & Refining) was organized in Fort Worth in 1919 with capital of $200,000. It acquired an oil refinery in Port Arthur.

In October 1919, Texas Oil & Refining controlled leases in Comanche and Tillman counties of southern Oklahoma –  2,000 acres northwest of the famed Burkburnett oilfield. See “Boom Town” of Burkburnett.

The company also leased land south of Tulsa, where it drilled a 1,900-foot dry hole (No. 4 Henderson well) near Okmulgee.

Texas-Oil-and-Refining-Co-stock2-aoghsAlso in 1919, the company brought in two producing wells on its 680 acre lease in Oklahoma’s Beggs-Bixby oilfield also near Okmulgee.

In 1920, the company drilled a wildcat well in South Texas’s Gonzales County (No. 1 Hassman well) a mile west of the town of Coast. No results can be found.

The October 9, 1919, issue of Oil & Gas News promoted the company’s efforts with photos and names of company sites, principals, and investors.

A fair amount of dispersed activity and apparent success mark the company’s efforts, but it nonetheless soon disappears.

The petroleum business had a lot to do with the “Roaring 20s in Okmulgee, according to local historians.

About 35 miles north, a 1905 discovery of the Glenn Pool oilfield – located between Okmulgee and Tulsa – had brought the first rush of exploration companies and prosperity.

An oil find closer to Okmulgee came in the year of Oklahoma’s statehood, 1907.

The region’s wells were relatively shallow, about 1,500 feet deep, which lowered drilling expense. The high quality of the oil produced from these Oklahoma wells also made them attractive to investors.

“Unlike the thick, sour oil from Spindletop, the famed 1901 Texas discovery that had already played out, this oil was light and sweet – just right to refine into gasoline and kerosene,” says Norman Hyne, a professor of petroleum geology at the University of Tulsa. See Making Tulsa the Oil Capital.

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