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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Economics of Natural Gas in Texas. By John R. Stockton, Richard
C. Henshaw, Jr., and Richard W. Graves. Austin (Bureau
of Business Research), 1952. Pp. xvi+316. $5.00.
This is the best and most comprehensive single-volume treat-
ment of the natural gas industry. It leans heavily, as is noted in
the preface, on the vast amount of data presented in the hearings
of The Natural Gas Investigation, Docket G-58o of the Federal
Power Commission hearings which began in the autumn of 1945
and continued through most of i946. One knows of no better
single basic source, particularly since most of the testimony given
in the investigation was subjected to an acid bath of cross-
questioning by an unfriendly combination of railroad and labor
attorneys intent upon protecting their clients' interest in the coal
industry. Statistics have been brought up to the end of 1950, for
the most part, and from reliable sources.
The study falls but little short of covering the entire nation, a
scope to which its authors do not pretend, yet it could have
covered profitably the Texas story in greater detail. It is loosely
written, repetitious, and reads like a series of essays rather than
a single work. The introductory chapter, "Background Notes to
the Natural Gas Study," is woefully inadequate. Its section "The
Story of Natural Gas in Texas" is not nearly complete. The section
on "Origin and Occurrence of the Product" is a partial presenta-
tion of a subject, better accounts of which are available elsewhere.
The final section on "The Nature of Natural Gas" is superficial.
A better focus on the problems and history of the industry in
Texas would have improved the book. One reads, for example
(p. 3), that a "large scale supply of gas" was discovered at Spindle-
top in 1901 and that "this oil field, like the Nacogdoches oil
field, contained natural gas dissolved in the vast oil pool." Spindle-
top in 1901 was not a "large scale supply" nor were any of the
fields in the upper Gulf Coast, according to the then accepted
production practices, until the discovery of the deep fields of the
1930's. Natural gas was first brought to Beaumont, on the out-
skirts of which lies Spindletop, in 1925 by lines from northeast
Texas and northwest Louisiana and to Houston a short time
later by a long line from South Texas. As to gas being dissolved
in oil, all oil fields contain gas dissolved in oil, a fact of funda-
mental importance to both the gas and oil industries.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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