AND NOW YOU KNOW Oil field activity: Chesson No. 5 stops flowing, new wells working

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, April 14, 2019

By Mike Louviere

Humble Oil and Refining Company brought in the biggest well in the oil field at Orange, the Chesson No. 5, also called “The Miracle Well”.  

It was the first big gusher in the field.

It flowed steadily for over a year and had produced over one and a half million barrels when it suddenly stopped flowing at midnight January 4, 1923.  

The well had “blown in wild”, blew oil for a long distance, and finally settled to about 30,000 barrels per day output. There had always been a steady flow.

The rig crew immediately went to work to try to find the cause of the stoppage. They found that the well had become plugged with sand.

The crew was unable to pull out the drill pipe, some had slipped into the hole and would have to be “fished” out.

Since the well had been flowing so strong there was no fishing equipment available nearby, so it would be several days before they could restart production.

The Amarada Company had brought in the Kishi-Lang No. 2 nearby in the same oil-bearing sand as the Chesson No. 5. This well was flowing at about 1,500 barrels per day. Nearly half the flow was water and basic sediment.

The sand formation was so torn up by the activity of the two wells that it was now hard to find the producing sands.

Amarada had drilled the State B-3 well in the same sand as the Chesson and Kishi-Lang wells. There was a lot of testing of the sands and a lot of fishing jobs in the hole due to loss of tools. There was little indication that State B-3 would be a decent producer.

Nearby, the Sinclair Oil Company ‘s Granger No.1 was “put on the beam” (pumping).

Water was standing in the hole and it was hoped that it could be cleared, and the well would be a good producer. The pumping rate was about 150 to 200 barrels per day. Most were water and sediment. When the well was cleaned it was hoped the production would be about 200 barrels per day of clean oil.

Sinclair was preparing to drill a new well in a new location near Cow Bayou in the south end of the field. The well would be Granger    No. 5.

The Gulf Production Company built a road through the swamp to the location of their Kishi-Lang B-7. It would be drilled as an offset to the Amarada Kishi-Lang No. 2.

Production in the field the first week of 1923 was about 13,000 barrels per day. This was slightly below the hoped-for average. It was hoped the production would increase to about 15,000 barrels per day.

The first well in the field was the Bland Well in 1913. The field was a deep dome field with the average depth of the wells nearly 4,000 feet. There was no salt encountered in the field.

There had been 318 producing wells drilled in the Orange Oil Field. The peak year had been in 1922.

From the Bland well in 1913 until the boom was over in 1927 an estimated 27,122,000 barrels of oil had come from the field.

There were larger producing fields in Texas, but these fields like the East Texas Field and Spindletop covered a larger area than the Orange Oil Field.

With the drilling, pumping, and workover activity in the field anyone willing to work was able to provide for their family. Farmers who had hit hard times could switch from farming to working in the oil field.

The area around the field became settled and grew into the community now known as “Orangefield”, or as my grandpa who had been a “derrick man” in the field called it, “the old oilfield.”

“And now you know.”