Pure Creole; 1938

March 1, 2020

 

The Kerr McGee, Phillips and Stanolin, Kermac No. 16, drilled in Breton Sound in 1947 gets the credit for being the first "offshore" well ever drilled in the United States. I am honored to have been dear friends with a man who helped tow the barges in place to build the platform, and then the large barge in the photograph, above, that contained pumps, pits, the drill pipe yard, etc; He also survived the great Texas City fertilizer disaster in 1947, this man,  and was close enough to be swept off his feet from the explosion. By close enough I mean 2 miles away. His stories about the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast were amazing; I miss him dearly.

 

The Kermac No. 16 was completed in 20 feet of water, in a clastic sandstone draped over a salt feature; between 1948 and 1984 that well produced 1.4MM BOPD of oil. It gets the credit for being the first offshore well because it was located 15 miles off the marsh and nobody could see it. 

 

 

The first real  offshore well was actually drilled by Pure Oil and Superior Oil, in the real Gulf of Mexico in 1938, about 9 miles off the beach and 15 miles SW of the village of Creole, Louisiana.

 

Creole is as far off planet earth as you can get and still be here; there is only one way in and one way out and you will need an interpreter if you go. In the fall the sky is black with ducks and geese around Creole; a man's wealth there is determined by the number of air boats he has in his front yard and every pickup in that part of Louisiana has a bumper sticker on it that reads, Black Labs Matter.  

 

Pure Oil, the operator of the JV with Superior, hired Brown and Root to build the Creole platform. It drove creosoted, pine posts 30 feet below the mud line and the rig floor was designed, intentionally, to allow tidal surges to wash over it in a storm. There were no quarters on the platform so different tours came and went via barges and boats.

 

Six wells were drilled off the platform, some at deviations up to over 40 degrees from vertical. This was a Mr. Theron Wasson's prospect, a geologist with Pure, and he found Miocene sands from 5,100 feet to 6,000 feet that were sealed off against a big, down to the coast growth fault. Some wells IP'd for 400 BOPD or more and the product was pumped to the beach and unto Cameron via a pipeline. In 1941 the whole shebang was flattened by a hurricane but was rebuilt the following year.

 

Creole Oil Field went on to produce over 4MM BO before it died and uneventful death, its place in history now almost forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Oil, Creole Field Platform, 1939. Louisiana oil men doing what they do best...finding the most God awful places in the world to drill oil and gas wells and gettin' it done. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________

 

I have offended geographically challenged people in the past, particularly Yankees from up north, by referring to French (Creole) Louisianans as coon-asses. The fact of the matter is they call themselves that and with great pride. I have never known more gracious, fun loving people in all my life.

 

And cook? Oh, man; if it walks, flies, crawls, swims or slithers, coon asses can cook it and it will be best damn thing you ever ate in your life.

 

There is nothing better that a big 'ol bowl of steaming seafood gumbo straight out of Barataria Bay, with an enormous  dollop of potato salad in the middle of it, some buttery French bread and a cold bottle of Jax to top it all off.  

 

Dat heaven, man; I know dis, me.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncle Joe's Lafitte Style Gumbo, fresh off the boat.   

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