By Nathan Barton
Welcome to West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. Most folks who know the area know it as the Permian Basin, named for a geological formation identified as being the same as the original Perm area in Russia. And “basin” as basically being a huge bowl filled with black gold – petroleum. West Texas intermediate, specifically, as well as natural gas, ranging from sweet (few contaminants) to sour (filled with nasty stuff you don’t want in people’s houses).
My family has been familiar with, and lived in, the Permian Basin since the late 1920s. My father was born there, in a city of 30,000+ people, that today has about 300 – on a day when the county fair is going on. That was back when rotary drills were the latest technology, and a well a couple hundred feet deep was a wonder. Most people still used impact drills, and the big four-legged drilling rigs that looked like extended fire lookout towers (and sometimes served that purpose, even in the desert).
Now, I know folks don’t read this column (usually) just to get tidbits about the past. There is a point to this. Just be patient. Continue reading