top of page

McElroy Field; 1934

This is a 1934-1935 circ. Gulf well in the early development of McElroy Field, some 2,700 foot Grayburg stuff that in parts of the field had kick ass permeability. McElroy, I believe, has produced close to 480MM BO since 1926 with another 100MM or so to go under water flood and now CO2 injection. Most of McElroy is now operated by Chevron, that bought Gulf.

I wrote an interesting piece about the "Landreth Strip" in McElroy Field that Texaco accquired, and that Chevron now owns also. Apache is a big operator to the north, in a seperate unitized part of the field .

Look how steeply the east flank of the McElroy structure drops off into the Midland Basin abyss. Cool, uh? In the structure map above you can see water flood well patterns (stars) at the top of the anticline. McElroy Field is one of the largest, if not the largest producing field on the Platform.

McElroy Field was part of a gigantic chicken fight in 1975 between Gulf Oil and Southland Royalty regarding 45,000 acres across the Waddell Ranch in Crane County. Southland Royalty was entitled to receive an overriding royalty interest in all wells still producing after 50 years from the date of the original, 1925 mineral lease between Waddell, as Lessor, and Gulf as Lessee. Southland demanded its override in 1975 and Gulf argued the 50 year term had NOT actually expired because of interference by the Texas Railroad Commission (proration restrictions). It wanted 12-13 more years added on to the 50 year term. The Texas Supreme Court ultimately sided with Southland. It is unknown what Chevron's net revenue interest is in McElroy. Parts of the field are on University Lands.

Crane, Texas is the only community in all of Crane County and it exists almost entirely on the back of oil and natural gas. There are only 4,600 people that live in the entire county (2022) so I would move there in a Midland minute if only they had some grass and a few trees.

McElroy Field produces about 13,500 BOPD from a bunch of junky ass stripper wells, even if they ARE operated by Chevron. Its actually an unsightly mess that I would be kinda embararassed to operate. There are (were) close to 2,000 wells drilled on 10 acre spacing. If you look closely you can see where Apache drilled some horizontal Grayburg wells in the North McElroy Unit until 2014 then stopped.

Gulf Oil, Waddell Ranch, 1953. Photograph by Robert Richie and Courtesy SMU, Dallas, Tx.

Good stuff, this McElroy stuff. The San Andreas and Grayburg have made working interest owners LOTS of money over the past 100 years in the Permian Basin.

On trend with McElroy Field and south, in Pecos Country, still on the Central Basin Platform, is the giant Yates Field.

West of McElroy Field, on the old Waddell Ranch, when Chevron bought Gulf production it inherited lots of wells, lots of production and now, lots of problems. Some of the wells they plugged long ago in the bottom end of an old water flood are suffering bad incontinence and are leaking nasty salt water all over the damn place, making a horrible mess.


2023, same area, different problem. The nearby landowners (Sarah Stogner, etal) call this mess the Chevron water park. Here water is bubbling up out of the ground in random places surrounding an old abandoned, plugged well.


These are Sand Hill Cranes that can often be seen in Crane County and other parts of West Texas as they migrate south for the winter, then north for the summer. They stand 3 feet tall and can have 5 foot wingspans. I hunted them once; they decoy pretty well and truthfully they are delicious if grilled properly, wrapped it bacon to keep moist and stuffed with a sweet, sort of candied jalapeno. Oh man, my mouth is watering.

Sandhills occasionally stop their flight to circle around and around, looking for updrafts and wind currents that will carry them faster and more efficiently, and when they are circling they get to squawking at each other like crazy, I think it is that they are arguing among themselves whose time it is to take the lead. Somebody always gives in and off they go again.

Sand Hill Cranes are called 'gruas' in Spanish and Mexicans believe the earlier they migrate and can be seen in West and South Texas the sooner winter will come. In Texas we always look for the days of late September to bring cooler temperatures and gruas are a sign that relief is on the way.

They flock together like geese and the wonderful squawking noises they make high in a clear blue sky always want to make me want to stop, look up, watch, and wish them luck in their journey.


bottom of page