Gushing With Enthusiasm

As the gulf crisis propels oil prices upward, U.S. wildcatters are eager to dig more wells but lack the means to do so

As the price of crude oil headed toward $30 per bbl. last week, the smile on Bud Champlin's face broadened into a grin. The Oklahoma wildcatter has large oil holdings in south Texas and stands to make a sturdy profit from the run-up in oil prices that was precipitated by the Iraq crisis. Higher prices also made drilling ventures in west Texas and Oklahoma that he has been considering look better. "No one's happy with the events in the Middle East, but it's going to make for some good activity here," said Champlin. "If prices stay up, deals are going to...