The Day Dallas came to Bilsham

In a corner of a field, opposite “White Rails” cottages, on the road to Middleton, in Bilsham, Texan Oilmen arrived in 1971. The site, next to the electricity sub-station, was identified as a potential source of oil or natural gas.

Pennzoil of Texas was granted permission to drill to a depth of 10,000 feet in search of either of the natural resources. Two engineers and two geologists flew in from the USA and a further 20 or so men were brought down from the north of England to operate the rig. Their experience was gained from drilling for Potash in Yorkshire.

It was accepted that there was only a 10% chance of success and the optimum depth was 5000 feet and would take approximately 50 days. In the event, they eventually reached their maximum allowable depth without discovering any traces of either gas or oil.

There were a considerable number of objections raised by local inhabitants but the people that were most affected were those actually living in Bilsham, one of them being myself. I cannot recall hearing a single dissenting voice. The NIMBY objectors, no doubt, lived miles away and probably objected to the thought of the drilling and not the actualities of the operation. Even if the operation had been successful, Pennzoil would still have had to apply for permission to extract the oil or gas.

Feb. 2008

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