In its June 9, 1949 issue The Planters’ Press reprinted an article from The Shreveport Journal.
“Although it was not until 1905 that first natural gas for commercial usage generally was found in this area the first natural [gas] usage began here in 1870 when an industrial plant discovered it accidentally and put it to work in its own plant.”
“The story was told recently in the following article in The Shreveport Journal by its oil editor, Earl Etzel:”
“Only five years after Shreveport ceased to be the capital of the Confederacy the city had started on its way to being the gas capital of the United States.”
“Where formerly Rebel trenches zig-zagged across the country, today thousands of miles of gas pipe lines weave in around Shreveport, encircling it completely.”
“Canons [sic] used to boom their balls at the Yankee soldiers, but now thousands of gas wells are spouting gas to millions of consumers all over the eastern half of the United States.”
“The fuel is so cheap that hardly a home is without it.”
Discovered by accident.
“Gas was first found in the Shreveport area by accident. A local ice company was drilling a water well at its plant in 1870 when gas was struck. This natural gas was used only at the ice plant for lighting.”
“The first gas field of commercial importance in Louisiana was developed in the Caddo field, approximately 20 miles northwest of Shreveport in May, 1905, when the Producers Oil Co. NO. 2 well blew is and got out of control. The well caught fire, burned the derrick, cratered and was never brought under control.”
“In 1906 Shreveport had its first gas transmission line, a six-inch line stretching 40 miles from the Caddo field to Marshall, Texas.”
“Today, with three major companies in the gas business located within its limits and 4,371 miles of pipelines weaving in and around the Ark-La-Tex metropolis, Shreveport is hailed as the gas capital of the United States.”
“Yearly, gas reserves continue to increase in the state and the local area. Since 1923 supply has constantly exceeded demand here in the Ark-La-Tex territory. Producers have had to seek markets elsewhere.
“A statement made recently by Conservation Commissioner S. L. Digby of Baton Rouge shows what an outstanding position Louisiana holds in respect to gas reserves.”
“Speaking at the midyear meeting of the Independence Petroleum Association of America in New Orleans, the commissioner said the state increased its gas reserves 17 percent in 1948, while the nation hiked its reserves only 4.8 percent.”
To discover more about the history of oil and gas production in the Ark-La-Tex visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.
Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org