Striking oil in Raywick

-A A +A

By Stephen Lega, Landmark News Service

Fans of the television series “Dallas” will recall that Southfork was where the fictional Ewing family made its oil fortune.

Today, Dry Fork Road in Marion County is producing oil, and it’s real.

“It’s like anything you’d get out of the Middle East,” said Elmer George, who owns the property in question along with Joe Paul Daugherty.

They hired Tim Carnes and Paul Whitlow to drill a few months ago, and to date, they have shipped more then 350 barrels of oil.

George said J.E. Bickett told him years ago that he believed there was oil in that area. In the 1970s, Green County experienced a bit of an oil boom, and George said Bickett often said the western portion of Marion County wasn’t too far from Green County “as the crow flies.”

According to George, Bickett was something of a self-taught, amateur geologist.

“He studied the geological maps of this county. He went out and studied the land,” George said.

And Bickett also believed there was natural gas and oil to be found in Marion County.

Before Tom Carnes started drilling, he read up on Bickett’s previous finds.

“When you hit an oil well, you have to register it in Frankfort,” George said.

They also have cameras they can lower into wells to see if there is anything inside.

In the past two months, they have drilled multiple wells on the George/Daugherty property, and so far, they’ve had a lot of success.

“You drill, you hit it and put it in a tanker,” George said. “It goes to the same place the other oil around the world does.”

David Daugherty, Joe Paul’s son, has been helping his parents look after the property, according to George.

“I find it exciting. He finds it exciting,” George said.

And to protect their investment, George said they have put up security cameras around the lines, the wells and the tanks.

Whitlow has been drilling for oil since 1995, but he didn’t make it a full-time job until five years ago.

“What makes it interesting out here is all the sea fossils on the ground,” he said about the land around Dry Fork.

Those fossils indicate that the land was once part of the ocean floor, and that is a good indicator that oil is nearby, according to Whitlow.

Finding and extracting the oil isn’t cheap, however. To date, Whitlow said they’ve spent more than $100,000 on equipment, lines and collection sites for the oil.

He added that the odds of finding oil is around one in 10 normally. They’ve had much better luck so far on Dry Fork.

“So far we’re actually seven for seven,” Whitlow said.

And he’s hoping they aren’t finished.

“We’re going to drill until the oil runs out and try to make Elmer some money,” Whitlow said.

George is plenty happy with their results.

“Paul Whitlow and Tom Carnes have done an excellent job for us,” George said.

“They’re batting 1.000,” George said.

And he is convinced that more oil and natural gas may still be found in that part of Marion County.

“Based on what [Bickett]’s told me, there’s a lot of gas and oil around the community,” George said.