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Historical Highlights

Yemen: The Final Frontier  
By Michael Morton / April 2015
Although Yemen is a single country today, it once consisted of three separate political entities. The territory’s first geological survey took place aboard the HMS Palinurus in 1862, when Henry Carter of the Geological Survey of India made a series of observations of the coastline; but the region was rarely visited and was considered as a poor oil prospect in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Spindletop Was Feted, And She Met a Hero  
By Ellen Walker Rienstra / March 2015

I must have tugged on his coattails. Actually, I don’t really remember how it all came about. But at the 1951 Spindletop 50th anniversary celebration in Beaumont, Texas, I, a 10-year-old schoolgirl, somehow found myself talking to Allen William “Al” Hamill, one of the drillers of the famed Lucas Gusher – the well brought in 50 years before, January 10, 1901, on the low mound just south of town that came to be known as Spindletop Hill.

Going Deeper: Blue H-28 Was a Whale of a Tale  
By Tako Koning / February 2015

The well drilled in the Gander Block was called “Blue” after the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale, since it was going to be drilled on one of the world’s largest prospects. In mid-1979 Blue H-28 spudded in 4,876 feet (1,486 meters) of water and was drilled problem-free to a drill depth of 20,023 feet (6,103 meters).

Oil for Life: Russian Pioneers Chose Wisely  
By Arkady I. Galkin, Francesco Gerali, Irena G. Malakhova / January 2015

When referring to the early Russian oil industry, one almost always hears the names of the fields located in the southern Absheron Peninsula, in Azerbaijan. Rarely does one hear about the oil heritage of the northern Russian lands close to the basin of the Izhma-Pechora River.

200-Year-Old Ohio Well Still Worth a Visit  
By Jeff A Spencer / December 2014

A commemorative event was held in October to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the historic Thorla-McKee oil well and salt works of southeastern Ohio. It is an important historical site for the history of North America’s petroleum industry. Much like the 1818 traveler who visited the “natural curiosity” and wrote about the well, the site is still well worth a visit.

West Africa Offers Lessons in Pre-Salt Exploration  
By André Coajou / November 2014

The relatively recent, very large discoveries offshore Brazil have put pre-salt exploration in the South Atlantic back in the foreground. Pre-salt exploration history, however, is far more ancient and marked with some major successes – but also many failures. Here’s a brief overview of this exploration in West Africa until the M’Boundi discovery, which will be described in detail as it brings some lessons that readers can discover for themselves.

Toyokawa Field Yields Oil, Prehistoric Asphalt  
By Eiichi Sasaki / October 2014

The Toyokawa field is a small oil field, covering an area of about six square kilometers, located in northeastern Japan’s Akita Prefecture. The hillock area where the Toyokawa oil field is situated formerly was covered with natural asphalt (tar) deposits that had erupted from the subsurface. The current scenery resembles the famous La Brea Tar Pit in Los Angeles.

Refraction Sparked Huge African Discoveries  
By Jean Laherrere / September 2014

Saharan fields Hassi Messaoud (10 Gb reserves, discovered in 1956) and Hassi R’Mel (100 Tcf gas plus 2.4 Gb condensate reserves, discovered in 1957) are by far the largest oil field and the largest gas field in Africa

Persistence Paid Off for Liuhua - Eventually  
By Bob Erlich / August 2014
The discovery of giant oil fields in new basins typically occurs only after multiple exploration periods and numerous unsuccessful wells. The first explorers might or might not have the right technical concepts, but for various reasons they fail to find the big prize. This pattern was repeated prior to the discovery of the giant (in place) Liuhua 11-1 Field, Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea.
The Debate II: What’s On the Caribbean Plate?  
By Keith James / July 2014
Once we’ve completed a study most of us geologists feel that despite the incomplete data with which we started, our insight has overcome that basic limitation. Ours, however, is not an exact science– and the all-too-frequent dry wildcats return us to the level of fallible mortals.
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Historical Highlights

Historical Highlights - Hans Krause

Hans Krause is an AAPG Honorary Member, Distinguished Service Award winner and former chair of the AAPG History of Petroleum Geology Committee.

Historical Highlights

A History-Based Series, Historical Highlights is an ongoing EXPLORER series that celebrates the "eureka" moments of petroleum geology, the rise of key concepts, the discoveries that made a difference, the perseverance and ingenuity of our colleagues – and/or their luck! – through stories that emphasize the anecdotes, the good yarns and the human interest side of our E&P profession. If you have such a story – and who doesn't? – and you'd like to share it with your fellow AAPG members, contact the editor.

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