University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Mark Steed Schmidt Papers



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Schmidt, Mark Steed
Title: Schmidt, Mark Steed, Papers
Dates: 2001-2002
Abstract: Transcripts of oral history interviews with important figures in the Texas oil industry: Michel T. Halbouty, Dr. John J. McKetta, William J. Murray, Jr., and Wills C. Steed.
Accession No.: 2015-100
OCLC No.: 910940220
Extent: 1 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical/Historical Note

The oil boom in early 20th century Texas transformed the heretofore rural state and created new regulatory challenges for state government. The Texas Railroad Commission, which had originally been established to oversee Texas Railroads, was granted regulatory oversight of oil pipelines in 1917. By the 1930s the commission had gained broad oversight of the oil industry, including the ability to prorate oil extraction. These regulatory powers helped to stabilize oil prices and led to the Railroad Commission's vital importance to national and international oil supply, until the decline of the oil and gas industry in Texas in the 1970s.

David F. Prindle, "RAILROAD COMMISSION," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mdr01), accessed May 04, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


Scope and Contents

Transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by Mark Schmidt for his masters thesis The Rise and Fall of the Texas Railroad Commission at the University of Houston. Interviewees were important figures in the Texas oil industry: Michel T. Halbouty, Dr. John J. McKetta, William J. Murray, Jr., and Wills C. Steed.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Steed, Willis C.
Murray, William J. Jr.
Halbouty, Michel Thomas, 1909-
McKetta, John J., 1915-
Schmidt, Mark Steed -- Archives
Subjects (Organizations)
Railroad Commission of Texas
Subjects
Petroleum industry and trade -- Texas -- History
Oil well drilling
Places
Texas
Genre/form
Oral history -- Texas

Related Material

See also Oral History of the Texas Oil Industry


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mark Steed Schmidt Papers, 2001-2002, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Esther Kirchner May 2015.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Willis C. Steed

From the collection: A petroleum engineering graduate of the University of Texas, Steed worked for the Texas Railroad Commission for 291/2 years. Steed was employed by Commissioner William J. Murray in 1964 as a Field Inspector, working out of the Houston office. Later Steed was transferred to the RRC Austin office, where he was Technical Hearings Examiner. For administrative purposes, the state of Texas was divided into ten districts. At Steed's retirement he held the position of Director of Field Operations for the entire state of Texas, reporting directly to the three elected commissioners.
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4B409 Transcript of oral history interview with Willis C. Steed February 23, 2001
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4D253a Cassette tape of oral history interview with Willis C. Steed February 23, 2001



 

William J. Murray, Jr.

From the collection: Murray received one of the first petroleum engineering degrees awarded by the University of Texas, which had opened its college of Petroleum Engineering in 1933. Murray was a major source of UT Political Science Professor Dr. David Prindle's 1980 book entitled Petroleum Politics and the Texas Railroad Commission.
Beginning in 1939, Murray worked for the commission as an engineer. From 1949 until 1963, he served in the elected position as one of a three-member board which regulated petroleum production in Texas. During many of these 16 years the other two elected commissioners were, due to heath problems, very inactive. Thus, for a long time Murray virtually ran the Railroad Commission of Texas single-handedly. This included the critical years of World War II.
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4B409 Transcript of oral history interview with William J. Murray, Jr. May 29, 2002
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4D253a Cassette tape of oral history interview with William J. Murray, Jr. May 29, 2002



 

Michel T. Halbouty

From the collection: Halbouty was a renowned wild-catter and major independent producer for many decades. Dr. McKetta, a personal friend of Halbouty's, arranged for Mark's interview- he can be heard doing this on the McKetta tape.
In addition to making major discoveries in the lower 48 states as well as Alaska, Halbouty, a petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A & M University, was a major spokesman for the petroleum industry, writing many articles for the public media.
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4B409 Transcript of oral history interview with Michel T. Halbouty July 11, 2002
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4D253a Cassette tape of oral history interview with Michel T. Halbouty July 11, 2002



 

Dr. John J. McKetta

From the collection: In 2012, the Chemical Engineering Department in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas was named after Dr. McKetta. At that time the 97-year old McKetta had completed 65+ years at UT. His record is remarkable: in service to the University, to his engineering students, who revere him, and as energy advisor to many presidents of the United States.
In this 2002 interview by Mark Schmidt, McKetta described his unsuccessful efforts to alert President Nixon to the coming energy crisis, which occurred in 1973. McKetta mentioned his many contacts with Presidents Ford and Reagan. He also stated that President George W. Bush's advisor, Don Evans, had sent someone in person to Austin to obtain a copy of the report McKetta's committee of energy experts had produced years before, which analyzed the energy positions of the United States.
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4B409 Transcript of oral history interview with Dr. John J. McKetta, Jr. June 11, 2002
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4D253a Cassette tape of oral history interview with Dr. John J. McKetta, Jr. June 11, 2002