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Geo-Help Inc

The Virtual Geology Department - providing Geological Expertise and Services to the Oil and Gas Industry in Canada

Oil Industry Quotes - A collection of quotes obtained from many sources to inspire, challenge or contemplate

"We usually find gas in new places with old ideas. Sometimes, also, we find gas in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much gas in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of gas, whereas actually we were only running out of ideas." - Adapted from Parke A. Dickey by American Potential Gas Committee.


Need for oil pioneers ... "The pioneering spirit should now lead American capital and American engineering to seek new sources of petroleum supplies in foreign fields for the benefit of the America of tomorrow. Nor can this be done without popular support inspired by general appreciation of oil as our servant, a servant that works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week". From National Geolgraphic Article February 1920 available in full here


"Had it not been for the discovery of coal oil, the race of whales would soon have become extinct. It is estimated that 10 years would have used up the whole family" Sept 1860 quote from California Fireside Journal.


"Striking oil would seem to be rather an easy process on such grounds. It would be worth trying" Malcolm Mcleod (1872) commenting on the journal of Chief Factor Archibald McDonald written in 1828 in reference to the Bituminous Springs along the Athabasca River)


"Where oil is first found is in the minds of men" Wallace Pratt (1885-1981)


"Conservative estimates project a price of $80 a barrel, even if peace is restored to the Persian Gulf......" Quote from National Geographic 1981 on the projected oil price for 1985.


"It is likely that the larger pools have already been found....." Canadian Geological Survey 1975


"I can hear the seagulls" - attributed to Robert Sneider on examining outcrop equivalents to the pay zones at Elmworth which he had reinterpreted as beach sands rather than channels.


"Prospecting for oil is a dynamic art... The greatest single element in all prospecting, past, present and future, is the man willing to take a chance" Everett DeGolyer


"Find a trap - then drill it" Arville Levorsen


 Seneca Oil Advertisement c 1850 (before oil was recognised as an energy source and oil from seeps was used primarily for medicinal purposes).


"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." Drillers who Drake tried to enlist for his project in 1859. (Quoted from HPC Newsleter)


"My formula for success?"......."Rise early. Work late. Strike oil." J.Paul Getty (1892-1976)


"Omnia bona quoad perfora" - loosely translated as "All prospects look good until drilled" - motto used by Anadarko in 1994 following their sub-salt drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.


"Saudi Arabia appears devoid of all prospects for oil" - attributed to a Director of Anglo Persian Oil Company in 1926.


"We're running out of oil!" - Harold Ickes, US Secretary of the Interior, 1943.


"At 1970 rates of production, (Canada's) reserves represent 923 years supply for oil and 392 years for gas". Joe Greene, Federal Energy Minister, 1971.


"The excrement of the devil" - Description of oil by Perez Alfonzo, one of the founders of OPEC after he became disillusioned with the OPEC organization.


"Hell, let's give them another $100 Million and get the damn thing over with" Attributed to Bill Richards when Dome Petroleum's bid for Kaiser Resources became stalled. 1980


"We drilled in the right place - we were simply 30 million years too late" Richard Bray President of Sohio on drilling the Mukluk Prospect, Beaufort Sea 1983


"This was our town (Calgary), 'til the oilmen took over. Now they run the Ranchmen's Club and even the Calgary Stampede" Cattleman George Anderson in 1984 National Geographic article.


25 years ago the price of gasoline in Toronto had just risen to 58.6 cents ....... per gallon.


"Horses create 772 grams of pollution per kilometre traveled, modern cars only 72.4 grams per kilometre"
"The wellsite footprint for wells drilled at Prudhoe Bay has been reduced from 60 acres to 6 acres since 1970."
Quotes from Lee Gerhard, AAPG Explorer, February 2001.


"You can fill your gas tank at the Jordan-Iraq border crossing for 10 cents" - not sure whether that's Cdn or US! (Bob Bain, CSPG International Division Presentation, Feb 20th 2001)


"Everything in geology is more complicated than what you see in a luncheon talk" (Jim Letourneau, CSPG, EPRD Presentatiion, May 11 2004)

The AAPG Treatise of Petroleum Geology: "The Business of Petroleum Exploration" 1992, Edited by R. Steinmetz has some thought provoking quotes at the start of each chapter some that caught my eye:

"Oil at $100 per barrel will not close a contour that is not there, and gas at $10 per mcf will not take enough clay out of a sandstone to make it reservoir" J.F.Bookout

"First look at the size of the prize and then the risk involved - Geology first, Economics second" R.E.Mcgill

"Most highly risk-averse people (and firms) never realise the high price they pay for their conservatism" P.R.Rose

"You have to continually press yourself to convert information into action" - John Masters

Profitable exploration requires wise investment of risk capital in people's ideas" - M.Downey

"You can't get the grease without a lease" - Anon

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness....Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." --George Santayana

"If I were investing in oil and gas stocks, there is one question I would ask CEO's: What portion of your capital is going to have to go in to stay even" - Gwyn Morgan, CEO of Encana, CAPP Conference, June 2002.

Forecasting the Future:

"Energy forecasting is easy. It's getting it right that's difficult" - Graham Stein, 1996

"Predictions are fraught with danger especially when they pertain to the future" - Unknown

Sources of Quotes:

AAPG Explorer Special Issue, January 2000

"The Prize" by Daniel Yergin, 1990

AAPG Treatise of Petroleum Geology: "The Business of Petroleum Exploration" 1992, Edited by R. Steinmetz

Other miscellaneous sources


Cryptic Crosswords (clues with our profession in mind)

1. Sent round small amount of money as a deposit (8) (Globe & Mail, Mar 21, 2003)

2. Expert on the rocks? (9) (Globe & Mail, Mar 21, 2003)

3. Crude perhaps, but beloved character at university Monday (9) (Calgary Herald, Nov 29, 2003)