INDUSTRY: A Golden Flood Returns

When a wandering oil wildcatter named Steve Owens brought in the first producing oil well in West Texas 54 years ago, a local newspaper headline rhapsodized that THE GOLDEN FLOOD IS STRUCK. Before long, oilmen and adventurers from all over the country converged by the thousands on the flat, dry plain that spreads over nearly 100,000 square miles through Texas and New Mexico. Known as the Permian Basin, the area became one of the nation's biggest oilfields; it accounts for about 20% of U.S. domestic oil production.

Today the golden flood is returning.

As one result of the national drive for...

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