The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 363
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maps and well logs more effectively than others, and his schooling as a
petroleum engineer gave him insights into production technology that
most wildcatters lacked. One example of his insights came in the South
Boling field in Wharton County-presumably in the early 1950s (the
book is consistently vague on dates). As a result of understanding the
oil-bearing propensities of the Frio sand present in that field, Hal-
bouty knew that he should find oil. When the driller ran into Jackson
shale, he wanted to quit because there was never oil in such shale. But
Halbouty insisted on continued drilling since the Frio sand had not
been struck. In this case the sand was atypically below the shale, and
when the drill hit the sand, it found the rich oil pool Halbouty
Throughout his career, Halbouty contributed a constant stream of
scholarly articles in petroleum and geology journals and books. He
often lectured to academic and professional audiences. Joining with
the Houston oil writer James A. Clark, he wrote popular histories of
Spindletop (1952) and the East Texas field (1972). Possibly his most
important contribution has been in championing oil conservation. On
one notable occasion (presumably in the late 1950s), he campaigned to
overthrow Rule 37 of the Texas Railroad Commission so that owners
of small plots would be forced to unitize production. While succeeding
through a state Supreme Court decision, Halbouty lost an estimated
$1 million by the ruling. Luckily, he could afford to put principle
ahead of profit.
Long before most oilmen, Halbouty understood the dangers of
America's dependence on foreign oil. As early as 1958, he issued a
public warning on this issue. From that time on, he has decried the
federal government's unwillingness to encourage domestic production
through economic incentives. As an independent producer, Halbouty
also criticized the major oil companies for their willingness to profit
from their foreign investments while neglecting domestic production.
This anecdotal biography effectively highlights Halbouty's impor-
tant contributions, not only to the Texas oil industry, but to the public
at large. This book focuses clearly on Halbouty's experiences as an
oilman, while more conventional biographical details are often ig-
nored or slighted. Donahue based the work on interviews with Hal-
bouty and others, as well as research in newspapers and technical jour-
nals. However, conceiving the book as a popular work, Donahue
omitted documentation. Its language incorporates the obscenities of the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/411/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.