Oil industry on the rise in Midwest

It was cotton planting time. Some of the sugar cane was already 6 inches high, and the daytime temperatures were in the 70s and 80s.

We were in Harlingen, Texas, in January and the first of February this year.

In early January, the day we arrived, there was an hour-and-a-half to two hours of gunfire in Matamoros across the border from Brownsville, and only a short distance from us in Harlingen.

People said they could hear it in Harlingen, and they told us it was reported that the members of the police force in Matamoros were all dead, killed by the drug gangs.

The Mexican Army had taken control of the city, and the shooting was soldiers against the gangs, they said, or perhaps gangs against gangs.

The last event made the news at least locally. I didn?t hear anyone talking on the news about the more routine things of life, like the cotton and the sugar cane, both of which I was taken with.

Sad to say, they didn?t seem to be talking about another major event going on with far-reaching permanent positive consequences for our country.

Doesn?t the national news media, and worse yet the politicians, especially the presidential candidates, care anything about in-depth, positive economic news?

Oil companies along the highways on our trip were putting in new wells, and replacing old pumps with bigger pumps. There were drilling rigs here and there in the landscape from Texas across Oklahoma to here.

The oil companies are doing what is variously called horizontal drilling, slant drilling, or frac drilling as fast as they can go across the United States.

In the oil and natural gas industry, as quoted all the time in Wall Street news, is talking about the United States being the No. 1 oil and gas producer in the world because of this drilling from as little as three years up to 15 years. Canada is predicted to be No. 2.

I ate lunch with an oil driller helping with new frac drilling in McPherson County who confirmed for me that upwards of 80 percent of the oil and natural gas nearly everywhere is still there. It was only unavailable, if even known about, because of the technology limits of the era in which it was formerly drilled.

Now the frac drilling, also called fracking?fracturing of the rock layers drilled on a horizontal or angled drilling basis with pressurized water solution added to keep it open?can be done to bring deeper oil to the surface. It is revolutionizing the energy outlook, he said.

Not only is it growing in Texas, Oklahoma and the rest of the nation, it?s coming to our home, to Kansas.

SandRidge Energy of Oklahoma City is rapidly expanding horizontal drilling in Sumner, Harper, Barber and Comanche counties.

Linn Oil of Dallas made headlines this week buying out British Petroleum?s gas wells with its Jayhawk Processing Plant in the Southwest Kansas Hugoton Field for $1.2 billion.

Linn is a leading company in oil and gas fracking with multiple predictions in Wall Street news this year, before the Hugoton purchase, that the company will grow 40 percent by the end of 2012.

Back east, in addition to its holdings in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, Linn is involved in the expanded Permian Basin play, and it?s invested in places like California and Michigan.

There is continuing talk at the Marion County courthouse that Linn, or a company like Linn, is coming to Marion County in a move that will open oil prosperity here to something more like the old days.

So, how does this all affect me personally every time I go to the gasoline pump to fill up, or every time I think about what I might worry about next?

Well, it?s affected me a lot. I?m happier.

I get asked by the presidential campaigns?Romney, Santorum and even Obama?if I care to donate to their causes.

No, I don?t think I care to.

Given a chance, I?m staying home more to burn less gas, I?m looking forward to crop planting and flowers here too, and I?m for dumping most Middle East plans.

I?d favor the long-shot election of Ron Paul, if he could bring the troops home to help stop the gangs and the drug flow on the Mexican border.

Mexico is criticized for its drug gang warfare while a big portion of the fault is with the money for drug use in the United States that drives the violence.

Maybe the drug users here better think of doing the right thing, and giving up their substances to help save Mexico.

They could use the money saved to buy Linn Oil stock.

That?s what I did with my presidential contribution.

I bought Linn Oil.

I also quit taking aspirins to help set the drug-use example.

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