October 23, 1908 – Oil Boom arrives in Wyoming
A postcard from Midwest, Wyoming, pictures the Salt Creek oil boom. Production continues today thanks to new technologies.
Wyoming’s first oil boom begins when the Dutch-owned Petroleum Maatschappij Salt Creek brings in the “Big Dutch” well – a gusher about 40 miles north of Casper.
Although the Salt Creek area was known to be productive, the central Salt Creek dome received little attention until noted Italian geologist Dr. Cesare Porro recommended the drilling site to Petroleum Maaschappij in 1906.
Drillers J. E. Stock and his father, working for an English corporation known as the Oil Wells Drilling Syndicate, brought in the well at 1050 feet with initial production of 600 barrels a day.
More than 4,000 wells have since been drilled in the Salt Creek oilfield, producing from depths of 22 to 4,500 feet. The field has ten producing zones. To increase production, water-flooding began in the 1960s and carbon dioxide injection in 2004. In 2007, the field produced almost three million barrels of oil. Read more in “Petroleum Pioneers of Wyoming.”
October 23, 1948 – Pipeline Inspection Technology advances
Photo of a “smart pig” used for testing pipelines courtesy of Pacific L.A. Marine Terminal.
Northern Natural Gas Company records the first use of an X-ray machine for internal testing of petroleum pipeline welds.
The company examines a 20-inch diameter pipe north its Clifton, Kansas, compressor station. The device – now known as a “smart pig” – travels up to 1,800 feet inside the pipe, imaging each weld.
As early as 1926, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory had investigated the use of gamma-ray radiation to detect flaws in welded steel and in 1944, Cormack Boucher patented an “Industrial Radiographic Apparatus” described as “particularly suitable for radio-graphing annular welds in relatively large diameter cylindrical structures.”
Modern inspection tools may employ magnetic particle, ultrasonic, eddy current, and other inspection methods to verify pipeline and weld integrity. Read the rest of this entry »