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AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 25 (1941)

Issue: 6. (June)

First Page: 1016

Last Page: 1023

Title: Developments in Mississippi in 1940

Author(s): Urban B. Hughes (2)


Development in Mississippi during 1940 passed through two phases. The first was hysterical resulting from the fact that only a few of the major companies and independent operators had scientific data or lease protection prior to the discovery of Tinsley. This resulted in rapid and necessarily sketchy geophysical work, promiscuous leasing, and drilling of wells by crews largely inexperienced in Gulf coastal formations. The second phase was marked by a slowing of all activities and many of the smaller companies and independents became discouraged and withdrew from the state. Hasty haphazard work gave way to sounder practices in both exploration and drilling and the final Previous HitplayNext Hit has been characterized by sanity.

During the first half of the year leasing activity was largely in the north portion of the state but during the later months the Previous HitplayNext Hit shifted to the south.

On January 1, 1940, there were 1,221,412 acres owned by major and large independent oil companies. At the end of the year this figure increased to 4,775,619 acres, making a total of 3,554,207 acres leased during the year. If acreage owned by individuals and small independents is added to this figure it is probable that approximately 5 million acres were leased during 1940.

On January 1, 1940, there were sixty-one geophysical parties operating in Mississippi. This number was increased to sixty-four on June 1, and decreased to twenty-two parties on the last day of the year. At the peak the greatest concentration of geophysical parties in the United States was located in the state.

No new discoveries of importance were made; the Pickens field with four producers, was disappointing; the Tinsley field spread beyond early expectations with 101 producing wells. The production for Tinsley was 4,208,021.43 barrels and Pickens 286,256 barrels, making a total of 4,494,277.43 barrels for the state.

Of the 208 wells drilled, 103 were dry holes and of the latter only seven resulted in positive proof of the existence of structure. Many of the dry holes drilled were financed without any geophysical work or any geological evidence whatever, some were located on geophysical evidence which was unsatisfactory, and others were drilled on seemingly good prospects which were disproved by drilling. It is generally agreed that many of this later type were drilled on prospects where the geophysical work had been done too rapidly.

One of the main purposes of this paper is to evaluate the results outlined here and to point out their influence on future activity. Although the results of exploration during the year 1940 were disappointing a true evaluation leads to the conclusion that the state has not had a Previous HitfairTop test, especially in the southern part, and that the future as an oil-producing area has not been materially changed. Toward the end of the year all work was moving at a slower tempo and this should benefit the quality and reliability of the geophysical work. The trend was toward more careful work with more emphasis placed on geological research and a closer correlation between the two. Sufficient time had not elapsed to obtain results from this but the coming years should prove the wisdom of this change i procedure.

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