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Carl G. Cromwell, ignoring orders, brings in world's deepest oil well


On this day in 1928, Carl G. (the Big Swede) Cromwell drilled the world's deepest oil well. In the wake of his 1923 success with the famed Santa Rita No. 1, Cromwell had become drilling superintendent of the Texon Company's rapidly expanding field on University of Texas land in Reagan County. He also acquired his own leases and became known as an honest, generous, free-spirited wildcatter. In association with company engineer Clayton W. Williams, Cromwell experimented in drilling deeper than the average 3,000 feet. In 1926 Williams located a site and Cromwell's crews began work. In late November 1928, because of mounting expenses and problems, Cromwell was directed to shut down. Instead, he disregarded orders, went into hiding, and kept drilling. On December 4, at 8,525 feet, University 1-B came in. It remained the world's deepest oil well until 1931, the same year in which Cromwell died in an automobile accident.

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