History of Hugoton Gas and Historical Museum

Author Joyce Lutz shares a detailed history of the Hugoton Gas and Historical Museum.

| July/August 1966

Learn about the history of the Hugoton Gas and Historical Museum. 

The following article was sent to us by Clyde J. Hagman, 501 South Main St. Hugoton, Kansas through the courtesy of The Hugoton Hermes of Hugoton, Kansas. Gary D. Hale is Editor-Manager and gave us permission to use it. The Hugoton Gas and Historical Museum history was written by Joyce Lutz.

Gone are the screams of the Indian war cries, the thunder of buffalo hooves, the creak of the covered wagons as they rolled over this great land. Today these sounds are paralleled in the sounds of the giant industry of Southwest Kansas. The scream of the turbins, and thunder of the gas compressor stations which move natural gas to the Great Lakes and the East Coast for heating homes and supplying economical fuel for industry.

The first discovery gas well was drilled in 1929 within four miles of Hugoton, Kansas. Since that time close to 3700 wells have been placed in production in the Kansas portion of the field. At the present time the Hugoton Field reaches into the Oklahoma Panhandle and into Northern Texas. Monthly production for the Kansas portion of the field is near the two billion cubic foot mark. The average depth of the Hugoton pay zone is 2800 feet. The expected life of this field is estimated to be between 25 to 40 years.

The first well drilled in the Hugoton field was steam powered using a wooden derrick with the churn type drill or "Cable Tool" that is, it used what is called a walking beam and attached to this beam was a cable with a feed attachment. On the end of the cable was a heavy steel bit called a "fish tail bit." The fish tail bit is best described as being hammered flat on the drill end like a wooden axe.

In this type drilling water was used to soften and wash away the dirt and rock as the drill progressed downward. Due to an ample supply of water available underground in Southwest Kansas, water wells were drilled near the drilling rig, eliminating the necessity of hauling much water in. This type drilling is one of man's oldest drilling techniques, used by ancient Chinese, many centuries ago. It is believed that Cooley labor was used to operate them.