From UOGR's inaugural issue in May of this year, the magazine has covered a wide array of stories emanating from shale plays throughout North America. As part of its mission, the magazine has covered news locally for a national audience.
While technology and innovation have moved the industry into unconventional resource development, it is the local communities in which the industry works that also make the recent boom possible. In answer to many questions, UOGR has looked closely at topics that result from advanced technology deployed in unconventional plays.
Water resources, air quality, state and municipal regulatory environments, and operational updates from a number of operators working in various plays have each been covered in depth, from a local perspective.
As a journalist, one of the first pieces of writing I encountered related to oil and gas was an historical look back at the Mexia Pool, discovered in 1921; at the time it was the third largest oil discovery in Texas behind Spindletop.
On Aug. 21, 1921, the Desenberg No. 1 and the Adamson No. 1 came in at 18,000 b/d and 24,000 b/d of oil, respectively. Both wells were producing from the Woodbine sand near the Mexia fault. The two gushers signaled a rapid expansion of oil activity that swelled the small town of Mexia, Tex., to a population of 40,000 from just 4,000 only 5 weeks before. The Waco-Tribune Herald that reported on the discovery at the time claimed, "According to one account, there was at least one gambler and a bootlegger for every 10 legitimate businessman." Almost overnight, the town of Mexia jumped to the 10th largest in the state. As a testament to the surge, city records showed 1,350 building permits were issued in the first 4 months of production.
Massive overcrowding eventually led to martial law in which the town was taken over by the National Guard and the Texas Rangers for 2 months beginning in January 1922. The field went on to produce 35 million bbl of oil that year. By 1927, production had declined to a mere 10,000 bbl. According to many local reports, for Mexia residents, the town's oil days stayed in their memory and many believed for years afterward that newer technology would one day bring on the next wave of oil and gas development.
While the Woodbine sand has yet to make headlines in UOGR, there are whispers of new production in many surrounding counties—the Eaglebine formation is being quietly drilled just to the south of Limestone County in both Leon and Madison counties.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have reinvigorated many historic plays. Permian basin, Mississippi Lime have seen a revival in drilling activity. Other, older producing fields now stand a chance at becoming new. While the influx of population and oil and gas activity may be a bit more tame in today's densely populated, well-traveled landscape, the issues associated with rapid increases in oil and gas activity persist. This is especially true for rural communities with no history of oil and gas development.
This portion of the industry is the province of UOGR. While the magazine discusses technology within the range of increased production in new and older developments, the news surrounding this activity is also important.
Now in its fourth issue, UOGR completes its first year of production. As editor, I have enjoyed covering local news for shale and unconventional development areas specifically. As of this writing, I will be moving over to the OGJ staff as Exploration Editor.
UOGR will now be in the capable hands of Rachael Seeley who joined the staff this month. She comes with ample experience in covering unconventional topics and has displayed a keen eye for news. I hope our readers will continue to anticipate our coverage of energy from innovation.