Google for the oil and gas industry

A reader pointed out this interesting map that says its maps all oil and gas wells, producing and non-producing, in the U.S. It’s kind of fun but ran very slowly on my PC at work, so give yourself a few minutes to play around with it.
According to an article from last year’s NAPE show, the site is the work of Eser Chamoglu, head of Eser Corp., a Denver based firm “that marries computing technology and exploration and production pursuits.”

“I wanted to apply new ideas from robotics and computer science to find and develop low-cost, low risk assets in the Rocky Mountain region,” he says. Initially, Eser Corp. focused on finding acreage that could deliver the highest risk-adjusted return on investment (ROI).
Chamoglu quickly realized that there was a seemingly infinite amount of publicly available oil and gas data. Unfortunately, there was no ‘Google for oil and gas.’
“This was a complete shock to me–I had spent the prior seven years living 20 minutes from the headquarters of both Yahoo and Google; I now realized that it was easier to find news articles on the internet than it was to find correlated formation tops for oil and gas wells.”
Chamoglu attacked the problem by manually assembling a database of oil and gas information for Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, three business friendly Midcontinent states. In addition to data on oil and gas wells, he included locations of seismic surveys, oil and gas plats, pipelines, power plants, storage facilities and metering stations. Information on upcoming lease auctions and historical data on gravity and magnetic surveys went in the database as well.
Next, he applied his particular expertise. “Rather than manually sifting through data to identify high ROI acreage, I crafted a software algorithm to do it for me.”

What I found interesting while playing with the map was how few wells there seem to be within Houston city limits. One would think there would have been more drilling closer inside The Loop, but it’s pretty sporadic.
There’s a big field just south of Reliant Stadium that was a bit surprising (although I remember hearing there was a large natural gas storage facility underground there — that sound familiar to anyone?).
I’d also like to hear from someone who can explain why so many of the fields appear to be doughnut-shaped, big rings with an empty middle?