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On May 12, 2007 - as part of statehood centennial celebrations – state-of-the-art petroleum museums opened in Ponca City and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

A circa 1880s Continental Oil Company horse-drawn tank wagon welcomes visitors to the Conoco Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma, which opened in 2007. Phillips Petroleum Company, once headquartered 70 miles east in Bartlesville, merged with Conoco in 2002.

The Conoco Museum tells the story of a petroleum company that began as a small kerosene distributor serving 19th century pioneer America.

The Conoco Museum tells the story of a petroleum company that began as a small kerosene distributor serving 19th century pioneer America.

“These museums reaffirm our Oklahoma roots,” proclaimed Jim Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, which built the Conoco Museum in Ponca City and the Phillips Museum in Bartlesville as “gifts to the people of Oklahoma, visitors to the state, and our employee and retiree populations around the world.” Read the rest of this entry »


By 1920, Tulsa is home to 400 petroleum companies, two daily newspapers, seven banks, four telegraph companies – and more than 10,000 telephones.

On a chilly fall morning in 1905 – two years before Oklahoma becomes a state – oil is discovered on the Glenn farm south of Tulsa.

Soon, there are hundreds of wells producing so much oil that the land is called the “‘Glenn Pool,” now the Tulsa suburb Glenpool.

This November 22 discovery well will help make Tulsa the “Oil Capital of the World.”

With daily production soon exceeding 120,000 barrels, Glenn Pool exceeds Tulsa County’s earlier “Red Fork Gusher” – and the giant Spindletop discovery near Beaumont, Texas, four years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »


A pink granite rock marks the spot where a large crowd gathered at Nellie Johnstone No. 1 well to witness history being made in 1897.

Prior to the Civil War, America’s search for oil prompted entrepreneurs, speculators, and wildcatters to seek their fortunes on the great plains of the Indian Territory.

This was land reserved for Native Americans by Congress and home to its indigenous people as well as the “Five Civilized Tribes” – Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, and Chickasaw, which had been relocated from the Southeast.

Each of the Five Civilized Tribes established national territorial boundaries, constitutional governments, and advanced judicial and public school systems. The Indian Territory included present-day Oklahoma north and east of the Red River, as well as Kansas and Nebraska. Read the rest of this entry »


A vintage Spitfire uses modern aviation fuel, but in 1942 U-Boat attacks on convoys threatened to cut off England’s supply.

By the summer of 1942, the situation was desperate. The future of Great Britain – and the outcome of World War II – depended on petroleum supplies.

By the end of that year, demand for 100-octane fuel would grow to more than 150,000 barrels every day – and U-Boats ruled the Atlantic.

In August 1942, British Secretary of Petroleum, Geoffrey Lloyd called an emergency meeting of the Oil Control Board to assess the “impending crisis in oil.”

A photograph of the 42 volunteers from Noble Drilling and Fain-Porter Drilling companies before they embark for England on the troopship H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth in 1943.

Dedicated in 2001, an Oil Patch Warrior stands in Ardmore, Oklahoma. It is a duplicate of the statue at right, erected 10 years earlier near Nottingham, England.

This is the story of the “little-known, or at least seldom recognized, all-important role oil and oilmen played in the prosecution of the war,” note two historians who have searched archives in Great Britain and the United States.

Guy Woodward and Grace Steele Woodward published The Secret of Sherwood Forest – Oil production in England during World War II in 1973.

“The amazing and hitherto untold story, born in secrecy, has remained buried in the private diaries, corporate files and official records of government agencies,” explain the Woodwards in their book.

“In the final analysis, oil was indeed the key to victory of the Allies over the Axis powers,” the authors conclude.

Today, two identical bronze statues separated by the Atlantic Ocean commemorate the achievements of World War II American roughnecks.

The first seven-foot statue stands in Dukes Wood near the village of Eakring in Nottinghamshire, England. Its twin greets visitors at Memorial Square in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

These oil patch warriors, separated by more than 2,400 miles, commemorate American volunteers who – during a critical time during the war – produced oil. They drilled in Sherwood Forest.

England: An Unsinkable Tanker

Noble Drilling Corporation financed a May 1991 trip for 14 survivors of the original crew to return to Duke’s Wood in Sherwood Forest.

The once top-secret story begins in August 1942, when Britain’s wartime Secretary of Petroleum, Geoffrey Lloyd, called an emergency meeting of the country’s Oil Control Board.

U-Boat attacks and the bombing of dockside storage facilities had brought the British Admiralty two million barrels below their minimum safety reserves.

The oil supply outlook was bleak.

Meanwhile, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s rampaging North African campaign threatened England’s access to Middle East oilfield sources.England’s principal fuel supplies came by convoy from Trinidad and America and were subjected to relentless Nazi submarine attacks.

“Ninety-four wells produced high quality oil, an amazing achievement,” the BBC would later note.

Many at the Oil Control Board meeting were surprised to learn that England had a productive oilfield of its own, first discovered in 1939 by D’Arcy Exploration.

The D’Arcy company was a subsidiary of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company – predecessor to BP.

This obscure oilfield was in Sherwood Forest, near Eakring and Dukes Wood. It produced modestly – about 700 barrels per day in 1942 – from 50 shallow wells.

Extreme shortages of drilling equipment and personnel kept Britain from further exploiting the field. Perhaps America might help.

Derrickman Herman Douthit fell to his death.

Following the meeting – under great secrecy – C.A.P. Southwell, a D’Arcy representative, was sent to the Petroleum Administration for War (PAW) in Washington, D.C.

Southwell’s secret mission was to secure American assistance in expanding production from the Eakring field, regarded as an “unsinkable tanker.”

Pressing his case in America, Southwell pursued the widely respected independent oilman Lloyd Noble, president of Tulsa-based Noble Drilling Corporation. They met in Noble’s hometown of Ardmore, Oklahoma, to negotiate a deal.

American oil companies were already heavily committed to wartime production. Noble nonetheless joined with Fain-Porter Drilling Company of Oklahoma City on a one-year contract to drill 100 new wells in the Eakring field. Noble and Fain-Porter volunteered to execute the contract for cost and expenses only. PAW approved their deal and the contract was signed in early February 1943.

On March 12, a 42-man team of newly recruited drillers, derrickmen, motormen and roustabouts embarked on the troopship H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth.

The Americans stayed at Kelham Hall. The Anglican Monastery was ideal for the year-long operation – it was isolated from the community.

Four drilling rigs for “The English Project” would be transported to England on four different ships. Although one ship was lost to a German submarine, another rig was subsequently shipped safely.

Top Secret: The English Project

The American oilmen joined project managers Eugene Rosser and Don Walker at billets prepared in an Anglican monastery at historic Kelham Hall, near Eakring.

The sudden influx of Americans from Oklahoma was rumored to be for making a movie, probably a western. It was said that John Wayne would arrive soon.

The roughneck workers left to return to America on March 3, 1944. They had added more than 1.2 million barrels of oil to the total output of the Eakring oilfield.

Within a month, sufficient equipment had arrived to enable spudding the first well. Two others quickly followed.

Four crews worked 12-hour tours with “National 50″ rigs equipped with 87-foot jackknife masts. The roughnecks amazed their British counterparts with their drilling speed.

Using innovative methods, the Americans drilled an average of one well per week in Duke’s Wood, while the British took at least five weeks per well.

The British crews made it a practice to change bits at 30-foot intervals. The Americans kept using the same bit as long as it was “making hole.”

By August, the Yanks of Sherwood Forest had completed 36 new wells, despite the challenges of wartime rationing of fuel, food, and other shortages.

By January of 1944, the American oilmen were credited with 94 completions and 76 producing oil wells. But not without cost. While working Rig No. 148, derrickman Herman Douthit was killed when he fell from a drilling mast. Douthit was buried with full military honors.

Today, Douthit remains the only civilian ever buried at the American Military Cemetery in Cambridge.

The English Project contract was completed in March 1944 with the Americans logging 106 completions and 94 producers. England’s oil production had shot from 300 barrels a day to more than 3,000 barrels per day.

Without fanfare, the roughnecks returned to the United States and the families they had left a year before. Their mission and success remained secret until November 1944, when the Chicago Daily Tribune ran a story, “England’s Oil Boom,” on a back page. Few took notice at the time.

Honoring Oklahoma Roughnecks

By the end of the war, more than 3.5 million barrels of crude had been pumped from England’s “unsinkable tanker” oilfields. Petroleum industry expertise would again come into action – solving the challenge of oil pipelines across the English Channel.

Read about “Operation PLUTO” in Secret Pipeline of World War II.

British Petroleum continued to produce oil from Dukes Wood until the field’s depletion in 1965.

Visiting Tulsa in 1989, a member of Parliament was fascinated by Guy and Grace Woodward’s book.

The story remained largely unknown until the 1973 University of Oklahoma Press publication of The Secret of Sherwood Forest – Oil production in England during World War II by Guy and Grace Woodward.

Then in 1989, British member of Parliament Tony Speller visited Tulsa for a speaking engagement – and was given a copy of the book.

Surprised and intrigued by the story it told, Speller joined with the International Society of Energy Advocates, Noble Drilling Company and others who believed that the singular accomplishment of this handful of Americans should be remembered. Well-known artist Jay O’Meilia was chosen to create a bronze tribute to these men.

O’Meilia, born in 1927 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he resides today, was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1999. Interviewed for this article, he recalls, that the statue’s designed quickly evolved.

“The notion of an ‘oil patch warrior’ soon developed…at parade rest with a roughneck’s best weapon – a Stillson wrench – instead of a rifle,” he says.

O’Meilia also remembers how authenticity was critical, down to period gloves and hard hat. “They even sent me a pair of original overalls so I would get it exactly right,” he explains.

Those who look very closely will see the tell-tale impression of a pack of cigarettes in the oil patch warrior’s pocket. “Lucky Strike,” O’Meilia laughs – “because Lucky Strike Green Goes to War” was a contemporary advertising campaign.

Artist Jay O´Meilia of Tulsa, Oklahoma, traveled to England for the May 1991 dedication of his Oil Patch Warrior statue.

Statues dedicated in 1991 and 2001

In May 1991, Noble Drilling Corporation funded the return of 14 surviving oilmen to the dedication of O’Meilia’s seven-foot bronze Oil Patch Warrior in Sherwood Forest. The statue was placed on the grounds of England’s Dukes Wood Oil Museum on land donated by British Petroleum.

In 2001, ten years after the ceremony in England, the citizens of Ardmore, Oklahoma, determined to honor veterans with a downtown Memorial Square. They discovered that the original molds remained in O’Meilia’s Colorado foundry.

“Our mission was to create a memorial park that would honor those who sacrificed their lives, those who served in the military during times of war and peace, and the oil drillers and energy industry that came to England’s rescue in World War II,” explains Jack Riley, chairman of the Memorial Square committee.

O’Meilia recast the Sherwood Forest Oil Patch Warrior for Ardmore from the original molds. The statue was dedicated on November 10, 2001, with representatives from Noble Oil and Fain-Porter joining veterans at the ceremony. A brick walkway through Memorial Square displays the names of Ardmore area veterans.

“Memorial Square honors veterans who are responsible for the freedom we enjoy today – and the energy industry, which is responsible for the economic strength of our community,” declared Wes Stucky, president of the Ardmore Development Authority.

Adam Sieminski and wife Laurie visited the Sherwood Forest statue in 2005.

Time has taken away many of those on both sides of the Atlantic who struggled to preserve democracy. As many as 1,100 die every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fortunately, in these two imposing bronze Oil Patch Warriors, separated by an ocean of history, the story of the roughnecks of Sherwood Forest can always be remembered.

Editor’s Note – Visit the Dukes Wood Oil Museum in Nottinghamshire, England. Adam Sieminski of Washington, D.C., visited the Sherwood Forest statue in 2005. He provided the historical society with photos – and donated a copy of The Secret of Sherwood Forest – Oil production in England during World War II.

Sieminski also encouraged sponsorship of this society’s participation in a two-day “rock oil tour” to Titusville, Pennsylvania. Read the “Energy Economists Rock Oil Tour” of August 2009.

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society and this website with a donation.


Hollywood newsreels and NBC Radio rushed to feature the March 1930 “Wild Mary Sudik” gusher. Within weeks they made the Oklahoma oil field famous worldwide.

wild mary sudik

“Wild Mary Sudik” newsreels soon appeared in theaters around the country. When the well was brought under control, crews recovered 200,000 barrels of oil from pits and ponds.

The Mary Sudik No. 1 well blew out after striking a high-pressure formation about 6,500 feet beneath the state capital.

The Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company’s well flowed for 11 days before being brought under control on April 6, 1930.

The well, which produced a stunning 20,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, became a public sensation.

The giant discovery was featured in newsreels and on radio, according to “Oklahoma Journeys,” an audio program of the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

“At about 6:30 the morning of March 26, 1930, the crew of roughnecks drilling a well on the property of Vincent Sudik paused in their work,” the program begins about the well, which is near I-240 and Bryant Street in present day Oklahoma City.

“The tired drillers had been waiting for daylight to continue their work,” the audio tape notes.

wild mary sudik

Experts control the well with “a clever ball-shaped contrivance” that lowers a two-ton “overshot” cap.

The program’s narrator Michael Dean notes that after drilling to drilling to 6,471 feet, the roughnecks overlook a dangerous pressure increase in the well.

“The exhausted crew failed to fill the hole with mud,” he explains. “They didn’t know the Wilcox sand formation was permeated with natural gas under high pressure, and within minutes that sand under so much pressure found a release.”

The drilling crew was caught off guard when oil and natural gas suddenly “came roaring out of the hole,” Dean adds.

“Pipe stems were thrown hundreds of feet into the air like so many tooth picks. First there was gas then the flow turned green gold and then black,” he reports. “Oil shot hundreds of feet into the air, and for the next eleven days, the Mary Sudik ran wild.”

“Wild Mary Sudik” Daily Updates

On April 6, Floyd Gibbons of NBC Radio – who broadcast regular reports about the well – reports that after two unsuccessful attempts, the well is closed with a two-ton “overshot” cap.

An Associated Press article describes the “clever equipment” required to control the well without sparking a fire – a “double die was screwed into four inches of casing threads…a clever ball-shaped contrivance, called a fantail, was used to affix the double die to the casing.”

The fantail was placed over the well, “and the ‘Wild Mary’s’ pressure, playing through jets in the contrivance, aided in lowering the cap through the blast,” the article explains.

“With the petroleum geyser halted, operators in the field drew sighs of relief,” it concludes. “A stray spark from two clanking pieces of steel and the territory might have become a raging inferno.”

With the well was brought under control and the danger of fire eliminated, drilling continues at a frantic pace elsewhere in Oklahoma City.

However, the prolific, high-pressure of the Wilcox sands formation continued to challenge drillers and the technologies of the day.

A Wild Mary Sudik article in the Southwest Missourian newspaper reported:

Oklahoma City, April 7 – A gas well, estimated to be producing at a rate of 75,000,000 cubic feet a day, blew in at the edge of the city today, creating a new fire threat less than 24 hours after the wild No. 1 Mary Sudik gusher, several miles to the south, had been brought under control.

Recognizing the risks of drilling into the Wilcox sand, Oklahoma City passes additional ordinances for safety and well spacing in the city.

Although the first ram-type blowout preventer had been patented by James Abercrombie in 1926, many high-pressure Texas and Oklahoma oil fields would take time to tame.

wild mary sudik

The Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City includes the Devon Energy Oil and Gas Park.

In December 1933, Abercrombie patented an improved blowout preventer (patent No. 1,834,922), that set a new standard for safe drilling during the Oklahoma City oil field boom. Read more in Ending Oil Gushers – BOP.

Visitors today  can see the valve that split in half and view newsreel film of the Wild Mary Sudik in the oil and gas and natural resources on exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center.

There also is the Devon Energy Oil and Gas Park with drilling and production equipment at the center, located on N.E. 23rd Street just east of the state capitol.

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society with a donation.


His 1939 “Oil Fields of Graham” today remains on display in its original Texas oil patch community’s historic U.S. Postal Service building – now a museum.

Born in Memphis, Missouri, on February 22, 1898, Alexandre Hogue will become known for his paintings of southwestern scenes during the Great Depression – including murals of the 1930s petroleum industry. Read the rest of this entry »


As early 20th century worldwide demand for oil grew – but the science for finding it remained obscure – a small group of geologists organized the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

Beginning as the Southwestern Association of Petroleum Geologists in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about 90 geologists gathered at Henry Kendall College, now Tulsa University, and on on February 10, 1917, formed an association “to which only reputable and recognized petroleum geologists are admitted.”

AAPG embraces a code that assures “the integrity, business ethics, personal honor, and professional conduct” of its worldwide membership.

The new association’s mission included promoting the science of geology, especially as it related to oil and natural gas, and encourage “technology improvements in the methods of exploring for and exploiting these substances.”

AAPG would also “foster the spirit of scientific research among its members; to disseminate facts relating to the geology and technology of petroleum and natural gas.”

Adopted its present name a year after the meeting at Henry Kendall College, AAPG begins publishing a bimonthly journal that remains among the most respected in the industry.

AAPG launches a peer-reviewed Bulletin that includes papers written by leading geologists. With a subscription price of five dollars, the journal is distributed to members, university libraries, and other industry professionals. Read the rest of this entry »


December 23, 1927 – Bad Santa of Cisco, Texas

Adding to the lore of Cisco, Texas – near the 1917 “Roaring Ranger” oilfield and the boom town where Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel – Santa Claus attempts an ill-fated bank robbery.

When a man disguised as Santa tries to rob the First National Bank two days before Christmas, a gun battle ensues, leaving more than a dozen wounded and eight dead before he is captured.

The “Santa Claus Bank Robber” later kills a guard while trying to escape. Recaptured, Cisco citizens hang him – twice, after the first rope breaks.

Read more about Cisco’s colorful history in Oil Boom Brings First Hilton Hotel.

December 26, 1905 – Nellie Bly patents the 55-Gallon Steel Drum

Nellie Bly – well known in her day as a journalist for the New York World newspaper – is issued a U.S. patent for the “metal barrel” that will become today’s 55-gallon steel drum. Read the rest of this entry »


December 17, 1884 –  Article features Oilfield Thunder and Lightning, Fires and Cannons

Especially in the Great Plains, frequent lightening strikes caused oil tank fires. This rare photograph is from the collection of the Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado.

“Oil fires, like battles, are fought by artillery” is the reporter’s catchy phrase in a New England magazine article.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology publishes “A Thunder-Storm in the Oil Country” - its firsthand account of the problem of lightning strikes in America’s oilfields.

MIT not only reports on the fiery results of an lightning strike, but also the practice of using artillery to fight such conflagrations. Read the rest of this entry »


In today’s oil patch, many community museums educate visitors about petroleum technologies – including early oilfield fire fighting. Especially in the Great Plains, where frequent lightning strikes once caused dangerous oil tank fires, one exhibit draws the attention of young and old alike. 

A cloud of black smoke marks the site of an early oil tank fire being fought with oilfield artillery as spectators look on. This rare photo is from the collection of the Butler County History Center & Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado.

“Oil Fires, like battles, are fought by artillery” was the catchy phrase in an 1880s magazine article from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

“Lightning had struck the derrick, followed pipe connections into a nearby tank and ignited natural gas, which rises from freshly produced oil. Immediately following this blinding flash, the black smoke began to roll out.”

“A Thunder Storm in the Oil Country,” a December 17, 1884, first-person account in MIT’s The Tech magazine, described what happened next:

“Without stopping to watch the burning tank-house and derrick, we followed the oil to see where it would go. By some mischance the mouth of the ravine had been blocked up and the stream turned abruptly and spread out over the alluvial plain.

“Here, on a large smooth farm, were six iron storage tanks, about 80 feet in diameter and 25 feet high, each holding 30,000 barrels of oil. The burning oil spread with fearful rapidity over the level surface, and finally touched the sides of the nearest tank. Read the rest of this entry »


December 9, 1921 – Ethyl “Anti-Knock” Gasoline invented

Public health concerns will result in the phase-out of tetraethyl lead in gasoline beginning in 1976.

General Motors chemists Thomas Midgely Jr. and Charles F. Kettering.

General Motors scientists discover the antiknock properties of tetraethyl lead – and American motorists are soon saying “fill ‘er up with Ethyl.”

In early internal combustion engines, “knocking” resulted from the out-of-sequence detonation of the gasoline-air mixture in a cylinder. This shock frequently damaged the engine.

After five years of lab work to find an additive to eliminate pre-ignition “knock” problems of gasoline, G.M. researchers Thomas Midgely Jr. and Charles F. Kettering discover the antiknock properties of tetraethyl lead. Their experiments examine the properties of knock suppressors such as bromine, iodine and tin – and compare these to new additives such as arsenic, sulfur, silicon and lead. Read the rest of this entry »



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.


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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Since 1896, when the first commercial oil well was drilled in Bartlesville, many historic Oklahoma oilfields have been discovered: Glennpool, Cushing, Three Sands, Healdton, Oklahoma City and others – including 20 “giants.” Few have had the tremendous economic impact as the late 1920s oilfields of the greater Seminole area.  Read the rest of this entry »



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.

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society with a donation.