The Struggle to Control California Oil Production

Paul Sabin

in Crude Politics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520241985
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931145 | DOI:
The Struggle to Control California Oil Production

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The overproduction that plagued California in the late 1920s and the 1930s was part of a recurrent pattern in the American oil industry. Between 1924 and 1927, the Federal Oil Conservation Board focused its efforts on inefficient methods of oil production and consumption. Major new discoveries of oil in Texas, Oklahoma, and California cast new doubt on the functionality of the national oil market. The indirect control of oil production through natural gas conservation proved to be a convoluted policy. Ray Lyman Wilbur hoped his Kettleman Hills work would provide a model for oil operators to replicate in California and around the country. Wilbur and George Otis Smith negotiated with, cajoled, and threatened oil operators for two years before they successfully created a unit to develop Kettleman Hills oil cooperatively. Politicians and California oil operators desperately sought sterner state and federal action to compel compliance with statewide curtailment of oil production.

Keywords: American oil industry; California; Kettleman Hills; Ray Lyman Wilbur; George Otis Smith; oil production; oil consumption; Federal Oil Conservation Board

Chapter.  8732 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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