Map of Spindletop District, 1926
Spindletop's Second Oil Boom
When the oil well at Spindletop blew on January 10, 1901, it was the first major oil discovery in Texas and the birth of the modern oil industry.
The Lucas oil well, known as the Lucas Gusher, struck oil at a depth of 1,139 ft. The gusher blew oil over 100 feet in the air until it was capped nine days later to flow at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day. Soon, Spindletop was dotted with successful gushers. Located just south of the small town of Beaumont, the sudden success of Spindletop turned Beaumont into a boomtown overnight. Its population tripled in just three months.
The boom soon led to the depletion of the oil field and production rapidly declined. Spindletop wells were down to 10,000 barrels a day in February 1904. But the Spindletop field had another boom in it. In November 1925, oil was tapped in deeper wells on the edges of the field. This map from 1926 depicts who held oil leasing rights on individual plots. Each black circle is an oil well; a slash through a circle indicates an abandoned well. By 1927 Spindletop production reached its all-time annual high of 21,000,000 barrels.
Within five years 60,000,000 barrels had been produced. Additional deposits were found in 1951. Over 153,000,000 barrels of oil had been produced from the Spindletop fields by 1985.
The impact of Spindletop on the world cannot be overestimated. The oil industry that resulted from the Lucas gusher altered the way the world functions. While global oil production has largely shifted elsewhere, nearly 40% of the nation's oil still comes from Texas. Over 285,000 active oil and gas wells produce an average of 4.1 million barrels of oil and 24 billion cubic feet of gas a day.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Austin
Books and Printed Material
Time Period: 1866 - 1936
This artifact is currently on view.