Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas Page: 4 of 94
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the East Texas Field in order to keep suspect leases under surveillance, to prevent
further plugging in violation of commission orders, and to protect official personnel
involved in investigations.
At the recommendation of the attorney general and the Department of Public
Safety, on June 1 the Railroad Commission issued an order specifically prohibiting
the plugging of any well in the East Texas Field. A similar order was issued for
the Hawkins Field on June 19. Both no plugging orders have continued in effect
through the remainder of 1962.
On June 1st the attorney general and two major oil companies filed suits
against several operators, charging them with illegal production of oil and seeking
penalties for violation of RRC orders. The attorney general filed suit in the 53rd
District Court of Tyler, accusing five operators of illegally deviating their wells
and then plugging them in violation of the RRC order. Restraining orders were
obtained against 21 other operators barring them from interfering with surveys.
By mid-June, 22 wells were surveyed and every single one was found to be
either slanted or plugged.
On June 20th East Texas oil operators called for mediation efforts and
William J. Merrill, identified as the group spokesman, stated certain operators
felt they had been damaged by ex-parte statements and asked for an investigation
by the House Investigating Committee.
By July 1st, 34 wells had been surveyed, 33 of which had been slanted; 50
leases had now been brought under restraining orders.
On July 6th Texaco filed suit seeking three million dollars in damages against
16 operators. Pan American filed suit for one million dollars in damages. 54
leases had been placed under restraining order.
By July 4th the investigation had spread to the Hawkins Field and thirty million
dollars in suits had been filed by the state and offset owners against certain operators.
On July, 14th this Committee held an executive hearing in Austin where Commissioner
By July 20th 335 wells on leases containing slanted holes had been severed
from pipeline connections with a daily allowable of 4,800 barrels.
By July 23rd the investigation had moved into Harris County. The attorney
general's office filed 4. 5 million dollars in penalty suits against Billy Bridewell and
Raymond Hedge of Tyler, alleging they had "reworked" a well in 1950 and had slanted
it under an adjoining lease in the Friendswood Field near Houston.
By July 24th surveys had been conducted on 64 wells which had been slanted.
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Texas Legislature. House of Representatives. General Investigating Committee. Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas, book, 1963; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5869/m1/4/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .