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A rig drills for natural gas in the Sonora Field in the Permian Basin. (AP Photo)

Oil’s $5 trillion Permian boom threatened by $70 crude

Bryan Sheffield, a third-generation oil wildcatter in Texas’ Permian Basin, knows what he’ll do if crude drops to $80 a barrel: shut down half his drilling rigs.
Landowner David Holdsworth checks out the recompleted Well No. 7 on the Tortuga Ranch in Zavala County, Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The well, drilled last summer by wildcatter Harvey Howell, was producing 50 barrels of briny water and five barrels of oil. It was costing hundreds of dollars daily to dispose of the water. The work over job consisted of reworking the hole and perforating the site at a higher level that the previous perforations to avoid drawing water. The weeklong job was a successful. The well was producing around 10-11 barrels of oil daily a week after the job was finished. (Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News)

Wildcatter tries to turn frustrations into black gold

Early settlers in Zavala County, Texas told tales of lost and buried treasure, but today’s riches lie thousands of feet below ground.
Harvey Howell, president of H.H. Howell, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company in San Antonio, calls to check the status of the arrival of a drilling rig at his site in Frio County. The third generation wildcatter was investing $1.3 million in the drilling operation, marked by the stake in the foreground. He calculated his odds at finding oil at 10-1 against.

Wildcatter bets big on Eagle Ford’s fringe

Wildcatter Harvey Howell hunts and hopes for elusive reserves on the edge of the booming Eagle Ford shale, without the 3-D seismic imaging and billion-dollar budgets of major oil companies drilling nearby.