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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Louisiana Oil Spill Contingency Plan Map

Written by  Donald W. Davis, DeWitt Braud, Karen Reeder, & Roland J. Guidry November 15, 2007

In the beginning of the 20th century oil entrepreneurs found oil, took risks, went 'bust,' got refinanced and often found oil again. Their speculative approach to exploration and development helped establish the country's energy future. In 1901 Louisiana's first producing oil well was drilling near the small south Louisiana community of Jennings. Independent oilmen quickly lost interest in this hydrocarbon province, since north Louisiana was more promising. Consequently, in 1904 the search for oil and natural gas moved to Caddo Lake in the northwest corner of the state. As a result, by 1910 three sides of the lake were lined with producing wells, but not without great cost. Crews hitting high-pressure gas pockets caused 'blowouts' that were a constant hazard. Derricks and machinery were destroyed and the resulting fires often burned for years. It was a hazardous business, with both financial and life-threatening risks. In 1910, Gulf Oil Company purchased the

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