6 Important Dates for Texas Oil & Gas

Fri, June 12, 2020








Have you ever wondered how Texas became the oil and natural gas leader it is today? Read below for
five dates that were pivotal in bringing the Lone Star State to its superstar status as the country’s largest
oil and natural gas producer.


1. October 9, 1865: Texas’ First Oil Well

On October 9th, 1865, Lyne Barret partnered with Benjamin Hollingsworth, Charles Hamilton, John Flint, and John B. Earle to form the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company. Using unconventional equipment, Barret and Co. began drilling, eventually striking oil on September 12, 1866. This primitive well only yielded 10 barrels of oil a day, but caught the eye of many, and put commercial oil production on the map in Texas.


2. June 9, 1894: First Oil Boom in Texas

In the summer of 1894, the growing city of Corsicana, Texas hired American Well and Prospecting Company, a water-well contractor, to drill a new water well. Instead of finding water however, the contractor accidentally struck oil – and companies in the petroleum industry took notice. By the beginning of 1897, the region’s Mid-Continent field was producing 65,975 barrels of oil per day.    


3. Jan. 10, 1901: Spindletop

The first salt dome oil well was discovered near Beaumont, Texas – the now famous Spindletop. On January 10, 1901, the well erupted in a gusher – which blew a stream of oil over 100 feet high until it was capped nine days later and flowed an estimated 100,000 barrels a day. This marked the first moment the world had seen an oil gusher, or an oil discovery of that size. Oil no longer was seen as the work of a small-time profiteer; there was significant money to be made. This remarkable event inspired people around the world to view oil production, encouraging innovative methods of discovery, helping create the ever-evolving industry of oil. After this monumental discovery, Texas oil production saw an increase of more than 3.5 million barrels from 1900 to 1901. Oil transitioned from a lubricant to a fuel for mass consumption that would transform our world.


4. June 2, 1908: First Offshore Drilling in Texas

On June 2, 1908, the first offshore drilling for oil in Texas occurred just 21 miles south of Houston, Texas in Galveston Bay. After drilling 20 dry holes in two years, Producers Oil Company abandoned the field only for The American Petroleum Company to strike a gusher in August of 1916.


5. March 31, 1919: Texas Railroad Commission 

On March 31, 1919, a statute was enacted requiring the conservation of oil and natural gas. This statute charged the Texas Railroad Commission with regulatory jurisdiction over the state’s oil and natural gas industry. In the over 100 years since, the Texas Railroad Commission has continued to oversee regulation of oil and natural gas development in Texas, helping ensure that all steps are taken to make production as safe as possible.


6. June, 1998: Hydraulic Fracturing in the Barnett Shale Launches the Shale Revolution

In June of 1998, engineers from Mitchell Energy drilled the S. H. Griffin well in the Barnett Shale using the very first ‘slick water frac’. The drilling technique pumped a mixture primarily consisting of water and sand at a very high pressure into the shale formation below, creating tiny fissures in the rock which allowed the natural gas trapped inside to flow freely. The well led Mitchell Energy’s founder, George Mitchell, to earn the nickname “the father of fracking”. It also launched an energy revolution - proving hydraulic fracturing could make accessing previously unreachable oil and gas reserves commercially viable, and propelling the U.S. to become one of the world’s leading energy producers.


Texas has a rich history of oil and natural gas development, stretching back nearly 160 years. Today, companies in the state are continuing to innovate and employ new technologies in the development process, helping to keep this rich history alive for years to come.