To each his own; but, for the wildcatter, there is no thrill to compare with coring an oil sand.
The derrick stands tall and straight against the sky. The lights of the rig blink with the stars. The night air is cold and the wild goose calls at dawn. Mingled with the deep hoarse voice of the mud pump is the sharp rattle of rotary and chain; and the steady throb of the engine beating time for the turning, turning, turning.
The driller hunches over the brake, with weathered eyes on the indicator, as he feels the bit, a mile below, biting into the bowels of the earth.
And you stand there beside him, watching, listening, waiting for the screech of the draw works and sudden change in pitch and tempo all around – the sound of sand, oil sand, or water sand – who knows.
And then with the line of steel, down, down, you reach to pull from below, the sand of the sea buried fifty million years ago.
The core is up, the sand is there. One glance will give the clue. You smell, you taste. It’s oil! It’s oil! It’s true! It’s oil! It’s true!
Mark Edwin Andrews
April 19, 1952
(Reprinted from The Wildcatter’s Handbook)
Who said poetry never had a place in the oilfield?
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