Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Activity: Early Oil in Texas

There's no doubt that oil and gas have had an unmistakable impact on Texas. It is a major industry employing hundreds of thousands of people today, but in the grand scheme of the history of Texas and North America, oil and gas is still an emerging industry.

During the second world war, hydrocarbon resources became critical inputs to the war effort. Without oil, armies could not fight.

In the following mini-documentary, we’ll learn more about the importance of oil to the war effort and take a look at some interesting innovations that came out of the war.

The lifetime of the East Texas Field stretches across one of the most rapid periods of change known to history. When it was discovered, the Great Depression was just beginning, computers were mechanical, and horses still provided farm labor in many places. By the time the last commercial wells closed, the Internet was booming, high tech, fuel-efficient engines were doing all the work, and geologists were using 3D computer models and advanced geophysical techniques to find new oil and gas resources.

The importance of oil to society has only increased since the field came online. It’s no longer only used in the internal combustion engines of tractors, tanks, and cars – it has also become a crucial ingredient in plastics, fertilizers, road pavement, and other critical components of the modern economy.

The cheap, seemingly unlimited energy provided by conventional oil and gas powered the unprecedented economic expansion of the twentieth century and raised the standard of living for many people. However, the 20th century energy boom was not without problems nor without limits.


SS.7.12B, SS.7.13C

Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
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