OIL & GAS: Profits Down the Well


Through the marshes of southern Louisiana 14 months ago, an oil-drilling rig was towed into position and a 20-in. drill casing firmly planted in the muck. Fort Worth Oil Drillers Sid Richardson and Perry Bass, in a joint project with Freeport Sulphur Co. and Houston Oilman John W. Mecom, started drilling with high hopes of tapping a new field near Louisiana's rich Lake Washington field. But as the drill bit downward—to 5,000 feet, 10,000 feet, 15,000 feet—their hopes sank as fast as their costs rose. Drillers had to battle hole temperatures...

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