Working over wells and bad roads in the oil field in January 1922

Published 12:14 am Friday, January 13, 2023

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The first boom in the Orange oil field began in 1913. It was not as prolific at the one at nearby Spindletop but caught the interest of the oil men in the region.

What no one yet knew was that a new, bigger, boom was on the horizon. It would occur ten years after the first boom. Between the two booms, work in the field was going on, but at a slower pace.

In January 1922 there was still a bit of drilling and exploration and workovers going on. Some companies were working over rigs that were producing, but producing smaller amounts of oil compared to what they initially brought in.

One workover process was bailing wells. To bail a well, a tool was lowered into the well that would bring out mud, sand, and water. This would enable what oil remained to be pumped out. To simplify the process, it was like scouring out an old pipe to get flow through it again.

The Atlantic Production Company was bailing its No. 2 Moore well at a depth of 3,200 feet. One joint of screen had been set and bailing had started.

The Gulf Coast Oil Company had set screen, washed and started bailing its No. 1 Leon well. At the 3,200 feet level, sand had been found. It included 15 feet of good sand with a streak of oil.

It was thought that the Atlantic company would begin pumping production to the Seaboard Oil and Refining Company refinery at West Orange if the No. 1 Moore well would be brought in as a producer.

No oil had gone through the completed pipeline since it had been completed in late December.

It was understood that the Gulf Coast Oil Company would pump its production through the Seaboard Oil and Refining Company’s pipeline.

Using all precautions so as to not have problems, the Gulf Production Company was reaming down the No. 2 Chesson in preparation to set the screen.

Seven hundred feet of open hole had been reamed with a four inch bit. Next a four and one half inch reamer would be used as the final tool to clean the hole for two joints of sand screen.

Gulf was also doing deep tests on the depth and formations in the Kishi-Lang No. 4-B well. No definite information had been obtained but the outlook was positive.

The Amerada Petroleum Company received a drilling rig that had been previously been used in the fields in the Lake Charles area. The rig was being set up for use in putting down the No. 2 Kishi-Lang well.

The well site had been cleared on one of the strips of Granger land held under lease by the Monarch Oil Company. Preparations were being made for the well to be drilled by contractor D. B. McDaniel who was moving in two additional rigs from the Houston area.

The main road into the Orange oil field was just a dirt road. It was almost impassable in wet weather. Often teams of mules had to be used to pull trucks through the deep mud after rainy weather.

Oil men who had worked in oil fields all over the country said the road to the Orange oil field was the worst they had ever seen. However, they agreed that the Orange County officials and citizens had been unusually good to the oil operations and they had the utmost faith in the county to eventually put its oilfield highway in good condition.

The oil men stated that in many instances in the counties where oil development had been carried on, the county officials and citizens gave absolutely no attention to the matter of providing good roads.

The eventual first improvement to the “oilfield highway” was to lay down a roadbed of heavy wooden timber. Far from perfect, this did give truck traffic the ability to move in wet weather without sometimes being towed by a team of mules.

“And now you know.”

— Written by Mike Louviere