The Best Little Oil Well

The sleepy farm town of La Grange, Texas, has not had much to brag about since 1976, when a nosy investigative reporter helped close down the Chicken Ranch, the famous brothel celebrated in the Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. But now La Grange has a different kind of natural resource: "Chicken Ranch No. 1," an oil well that is producing 107 bbl. of low-sulfur crude a day.

The well is one of the more than 1,000 new discoveries in the so-called Austin chalk, a complex geological stratum that lies between Houston and Austin. Oilmen have long suspected that the...

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