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Wildcat Oil Drilling


WILDCAT OIL DRILLING. Wildcatters are independent oil hunters willing to take chances with regard to where they drill. Wildcat drillers accounted for many of the early oil finds, thus helping create the commercial petroleum industry in the United States around 1860. Many productive oil fields were discovered by wildcatters.

Wildcat drilling success comes from low operating costs and the ability to mobilize quickly. By the 1930s these ventures had become less common due to rising costs as shallow fields were tapped out, forcing oil hunters to drill deeper. Drilling expenses on deep holes that produced nothing ruined many independent operators.


Miles, Ray. King of the Wildcatters: The Life and Times of Tom Slick, 1883–1930. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996.

Tait, Samuel W., Jr. The Wildcatters: An Informal History of Oil Hunting in America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1946.

T. L.Livermore


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