We were privileged to visit the great, Yates oil field just west of the Pecos River in Pecos, County, Texas last week. Kinder Morgan owns about half of Yates Field and operates it, having bought operations from Marathon almost 20 years ago. Its possible to drive right thru the middle of the field on a county road and see nearly 100 years of history. Here is a photo of Ms. Catherine standing under gas processing lines, or CO2 source lines, to Kinder's gas processing plant. On the west flank of the field is massive water processing plant also operated by Kinder. Parts of the field are water flooded and parts are a combination of water and CO2 floods. It still makes 20,ooo-25,000 BOPD. There was one drilling rig running in the field and numerous new locations dug in the side of hills and down in arroyos. The well that made over 200,000 BOPD, from a depth of 1,300 feet, was marked and visible from the road.
There are approximately 360 wells in the field producing from various depths, and there are 320 pumping units and 10 pumping units like the one on the left, everywhere.
Yates is over 22,ooo acres large; the existence of small rod lift wells like this one and massive injection wells, etc., give the field the appearance of being many different fields, but its all one giant structure. Its produced over a G of oil since 1926 and might have another G left in it. Two G BO of total recovery would be about 50% of OOIP.
This wooden stock tank is still there, in Yates, with the pear bush growing in the top of it.
Every aspect of the nearby town of Iraan (+1200 population) is based on servicing Yates oilfield. The community is wonderfully clean and has a civic center and park along the Pecos River that most towns 10 times bigger than Iraan would give anything for. There is a small museum in the park that has an old standard derrick in it, an old 1940 era, self contained spudder unit, a steam engine and the biggest temper screw from a old cable tool rig I've ever seen. Kinder I believe employs nearly 200 people and their headquarters down the hill from the field, in Iraan is very impressive. All of this part of Texas is steeped in oil history and you never know what you might see simply driving around.
God did big work when He made Yates Field.
Its a tragedy that this gift caused so much grief, so much angst among so many people. Law suits and settlement disputes regarding vacancies in Yates Oil Field drug on for 65 years after the first well was drilled. Heirs to minerals in Yates actually murdered each other over royalty income. Ira and Ann Yates endured one law suit after another over Yates vacancies, boundary disputes and mineral leases. Another prominent mineral owner in Yates one time said that she wished the oil was never found, she just wanted her ranch, and her family, back.
More on that later.