OIL: The Spraberry Trend

As the capital of the West Texas oil industry, the town of Midland (pop. 23,000) had an odd distinction; it had never had a boom of its own. The land around Midland had been drilled repeatedly and found wanting. But last week all was changed.

Prices were soaring in Midland; office space was at a premium. In the suburbs, palatial ranch-style houses were going up almost overnight. Downtown, modest skyscrapers poked into the air. One small operator called Jack Kelsey caught the spirit by buying an 8-ft.-by-13-ft. shack, moving it into his backyard, and putting up a...

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