History of Oil In Texas

Texas State Historical Association: Oil and Gas Industry

Good and fun read here.  The article presents a digestible history of oil and gas in Texas.  Of note is a a great map of the original Texas & Pacific Railway line.

The record stops short of the modern fracking era.  There is still much more history to be made.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Texas oil and gas industry had what might well have been its last boom. Subsequently, economic, social, and political life in the state changed greatly. The petroleum industry, more than one-quarter of the state’s economy in 1981, fell to half that level ten years later. Massive losses in energy and real estate lending brought the collapse of the large home-owned financial institutions that had commonly been at the center of community development; of the large banks, Frost National alone survived. One-third of oil and gas employment was lost between 1982 and 1994. Workers left producing regions as rigs shut down and producers carried through successive reductions in staff; white-collar ranks thinned noticeably from the late 1980s onward, as producers cut technical and managerial personnel in the face of stagnant prices and rising costs. State and local governments found that lower income from production and property taxes necessitated austere budgets, and affected communities launched searches for new revenue and increased efforts to diversify their economies. The proportion of state government revenue from the petroleum industry declined to 7 percent in 1993, one-quarter of its level ten years earlier. In the final decade of the twentieth century, a great industry and the aspects of Texas life that were related to it were downsizing. Only petrochemicals gained: lower prices for oil and gas caused facilities to expand and related employment to increase by one-tenth between 1988 and 1991. This sector of the industry remained competitive in international markets, despite pollution control and abatement costs, which approached $1 billion a year in 1994. At a rate governed by international prices and technology, the rest of the petroleum industry in Texas was inching down the road from Spindletop.

3 thoughts on “History of Oil In Texas

  1. Thank you for this great blog on TPL!!! There is such a passionate (but small) community that will eat this up. To your point about the great map of the original Texas Pacific Railway land, there is a great product for sale on eBay for $15 of a similar map. I framed it as a great display in my man cave as a reminder of what a blessing this incredible stock has been for my family.


  2. I think I’m going to have to get one! My wife calls TPL “the railroad stock”. She doesn’t fully appreciate the degree of financial flexibility it has and may continue to bring my family.

    Thanks very much for your comments! If you’d ever like to share any of your own thoughts in a guest post or if you have something that I should include in the blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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