Higgins, Pattillo

Pattillo Higgins (1863-1955), an American oil wildcatter who discovered the Spindletop oil field in Texas (1901). He chose the site for exploration because he believed that oil and gas existed beneath the site’s salt dome, despite conventional wisdom of the day that the Gulf Coast region did not have petroleum potential. The discovery well blew out six tons of drill pipe with sufficient force to sustain a 100-foot geyser of oil until capped ten days later, and flowed at an estimated 100,000 barrels daily. By the time the well was capped, the drilling rig sat in a lake of oil. Spindletop changed the course of the oil industry, and society as a whole. Because the discovery was made around the time of the adoption of the internal combustion engine by the automobile industry, Spindletop was a prodigious energy source, capable of meeting the growing demand for liquid fuel. Great 20th-century companies such Gulf Oil, TEXACO, and Hughes Tool Company were born in the race to reap the riches from Spindletop’s oil.

Further Reading
Pattillo Higgins (Handbook of Texas Online)
Pattillo Higgins - Biography (Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum)



Cleveland, C. (2006). Higgins, Pattillo. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/153496


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