The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 11
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Texas and the Oil Industry
The discovery of the Brenham Field in Washington County in
October, 1915, proved that production could be secured from
salt domes located some distance inland from the coast. Also
in 1915 the natural gasoline industry made its first appearance
in the state with the construction of a plant by the Clayco at
The Ranger Field, discovered in October, 1917, by Texas and
Pacific Coal Company's No. 1, the J. H. McClesky well, started
off slowly because of the disfavor with which many operators
had looked upon that general area. This apathetic attitude
changed rapidly after the completion of a few good wells, and
within less than two years the field was producing between
four and five million dollars worth of oil per month.
The years 1917 to 1920 inclusive were of outstanding impor-
tance to the oil industry of Texas. Exploratory drilling resulted
in the discovery of such areas as West Columbia, Barbers Hill,
Burkburnett town site and its northwest extension, South
Bend, Hull, and Desdemona. It also resulted in the discovery
of gas in the Panhandle. Of particular significance during
these four years, however, was the enactment of legislation
vesting broad powers in the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Senate Bill No. 68, approved February 20, 1917, declared pipe
lines to be common carriers and placed them under the super-
vision of the commission; Senate Bill No. 350, which became
effective June 18, 1919, is the fundamental conservation law
of the state; and House Bill No. 11, approved June 18, 1920,
gave the commission jurisdiction over all natural gas utilities
and appellate jurisdiction in the matter of fixing rates at which
natural gas is sold in the various municipalities of the state.
The organization of the Oil and Gas Division of the Railroad
Commission was begun on June 18, 1919, and proceeded rapidly.
The first shutdown order, suspending production and the com-
pletion of wells in the Burkburnett area, was issued on July
11, 1919; the first proration order affected the northwest ex-
tension to Burkburnett and was issued July 18, 1919; the first
rules regulating the methods of oil and natural gas conservation
were adopted July 26, 1919; and Rule 37, which is so well known
to all operators, was adopted November 26, 1919. One of the
rules laid down by the commission, early in 1920, classed a well
as a gas well if the gas production, computed at fifteen cents per
thousand cubic feet, was more valuable than the oil production,
computed at $3.00 per barrel.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/27/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.