Thursday Open Comments

Jake Johnson, 1997 – 2007

Scout, herder, tracker, canine psychologist, scholar, quadruped genius, gentleman, drinking companion and all around Top Hand.  He came into my life twenty years ago, half-Australian Shepherd, quarter-Border Collie and other fine unknown DNA contributors.  Jake was a man among men and a dog among dogs.  A dear friend missed every day.

A New Independence for America’s 241st Birthday

This is not your typical Fourth of July posting.  There is a new important independence for this nation due to the foresight and persistence, not to mention great investment, of one man, George Phydias Mitchell.  Very little recognition has been extended this man and this is one small attempt to rectify that serious shortcoming.  The amazing, resourceful people of the Oilpatch get little credit for the transformation of the energy industry around the world as well as turning the international geopolitical spectrum upside down.  It is not often history turns so rapidly on the ideas of a single man, but they have with George Mitchell.  The gift of our Founding Fathers was to create a place where a Greek immigrant like Mitchell could come and thrive and eventually resoundingly contribute to the liberty we all enjoy.

Great wars have been fought and millions of lives lost over the vast oil and gas fields of the Middle East because they were the treasure sought and needed by the rest of the world to heat or cool its homes, drive its factories and fuel its transportation.

The United States of America and the Land of Israel have suffered mightily under the domination of third world despots running the game and the table.  No longer and nevermore.  The excess production of oil alone for export will increase in the USA by a million barrels per day by early next year.

We owe it to George Mitchell to honor his personal determination and sacrifice to free future generations of Americans and Israelis from the torment and blackmail by 7th century totalitarians of the last 50 years.

George P. Mitchell, the Texas billionaire who pioneered shale-drilling techniques that triggered a renaissance in North American oil and natural gas production, has died. He was 94. Mitchell’s innovative use of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing in the 1990s to release gas from a previously-impermeable rock formation near Fort Worth, Texas, earned him the nickname the “father of the Barnett Shale.” Those drilling breakthroughs revolutionized oil and gas exploration from Pennsylvania to Poland and the Yukon Territory to Argentina.

“My engineers kept telling me, ‘You are wasting your money, Mitchell.’ And I said, Well damn it, let’s figure this thing out, because there is no question there is a tremendous source bed that’s about 250 feet thick.”

As other companies adopted Mitchell’s techniques, U.S. gas production rose 25% in the past decade, pushing prices to a 10-year low in April 2012. The nation now has an estimated 890 trillion cubic feet equivalent of recoverable natural gas, enough fuel for almost 40 years at current consumption rates. As the same methods were applied to oil fields, crude production has more than quadrupled in places such as the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana in the past three years.

Mitchell had the “guts” to do certain things that other people would be too scared to do, said Michael Richmond, who worked for Mitchell for 25 years, eventually retiring as chief executive officer of the real-estate company that developed The Woodlands.

“George didn’t like to hear the answer, ‘No,’” Richmond said. “He always wanted to hear the answer, ‘How.’ You had to figure out solutions to any issue that was on the table.”

That is the American way.

Thank God and your lucky stars you are a Texan and a citizen of this, the greatest nation on His green earth.

Have a great and safe Fourth of July and, as Mike Richards would say, make a deposit in that memory bank.