In this part of the country, atop the Eagle Ford Shale and in between all the cows, oil derricks dot the land.
Besides the cows and oil derricks there’s not a lot around for many, many miles. In this particular town the bovine to human population is 10:1. At the very least.
I really wish I owned land here.
Why? you ask. Do you like cows? you ask.
Gas is cheaper than California by almost $1/gallon. But no, it’s not because of the price of gas, albeit reason enough right there.
It’s because of the oil derricks. The smelly, dusty, noisy oil derricks.
Hey, you knew I was an odd bird when you started reading this blog so this should come as no surprise.
They’ve been here for several years, making many people very rich. If you’re a landowner who leases your mineral rights to any of the oil companies drilling here you will make a couple hundred to several thousand dollars a day. When they hit oil, you’ll get a percentage of the rate per barrel – and not a small percent.
Many folks are leaving their regular jobs to work in the oilfields… the money is very good, but the work is very hard and the hours are long. But the money is very good.
They ran a recent newspaper article about all the extra money this little town is making – and they don’t know what to do with it. There’s nothing here except a couple stores and restaurants. Many businesses look closed. They really don’t know what to do with the money.
The people who are getting hundreds of dollars a day from leasing their mineral rights? They don’t know what to do with it either. There are a lot of new diesel pick up trucks around here, but that’s about it. I heard someone was going to put a new fence up around his property. Probably to better keep in the cows they’re still planning to raise.
There’s very little of the “flash” here that you see in California. Everyone wears jeans or shorts when going out, and none of them are designer. Rarely do you see women wearing high heels, even in the larger cities. You do see the occasional bit of rhinestone “bling” on flip-flops or the back pockets of jeans, but it’s not like in California where the glare from all the bling is the reason everyone has to wear those expensive sunglasses.
The oilfield and my tour of an oil derrick…
A friend who is running a nearby oil derrick gave me a tour. (I’ve erased the rig number and won’t use his real name because tours are kind of frowned upon. And hanging out with crazy bloggers is also kind of frowned upon. I’ll just call my friend Mr. East Texas. You know who you are. 😉
See that large blue “box” at the top of the frame in the above photo? That’s called the “dog house”, where a guy sits in front several screens, monitoring the drilling action. The window in front of him (poorly shown below) looks directly out at the drill.
It’s a very scary job, very slippery around VERY heavy equipment.
The drill operates 24/7/365. It can’t shut down unless it is absolutely necessary (like it breaks and there is no choice). Time is money. My friend and his crew are on 24/7 and then off for 7 days. When on duty all they live on site in trailers. The rig moves every few weeks and so does the crew. Everyone commutes to work/home only once a week so many people live hours away from the rig. Other jobs in the industry are often 12-16 hour days, 6 to 7 days a week.
Drilling has changed a great deal over the years. The drill bit is directed by GPS. (I sure hope it’s more accurate than Google Maps on my Android phone. That’s some useless and aggravating software.)
They can drill down, make a smooth curved turn, and continue drilling straight for a mile or more, just as this one did. They completed the drilling in about two weeks. After that the “frac” team comes in to crack the rocks and get more oil out (or something like that).
A Big Texas Thank You to Mr. East Texas for the tour! It was the highlight of a really tough month.