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Frazell transcript, 1 of 1
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University of Houston. Frazell, W.D. - Frazell transcript, 1 of 1. July 31, 2002. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 22, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/259/show/258.

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University of Houston. (July 31, 2002). Frazell, W.D. - Frazell transcript, 1 of 1. Oral Histories from the Houston History Project. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/259/show/258

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

University of Houston, Frazell, W.D. - Frazell transcript, 1 of 1, July 31, 2002, Oral Histories from the Houston History Project, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 22, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/259/show/258.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Frazell, W.D.
Creator (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Creator (Local)
  • Houston History Project
Contributor (Local)
  • DiTucci, David, interviewer
  • Wiltz, Steven, interviewer
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette, project
Date July 31, 2002
Description This is an oral history interview with W.D. Frazell conducted as part of the Houston History Project. W.D. Frazell was born in 1913 in Resell, Texas, a small town near Waco. He received a BS degree at Southern Methodist University and a Master's degree in Geology at University of Texas at Austin in 1935. He worked for United Gas Line Company before going into the Navy during WWII. He moved to Southern LA in 1955, where he was responsible for drilling many oil wells. He also discusses the oil industry's impact on Lafayette.
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Energy development
Subject.Name (Local)
  • Frazell, W.D., 1913-
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
Genre (AAT)
  • interviews
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Sound
  • Text
Original Collection Oral Histories - Houston History Project
Digital Collection Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
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File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Frazell transcript, 1 of 1
Format (IMT)
  • application/pdf
Original Item Location ID 2006-005, Transcript Box 3, HHA 00179
File Name hhaoh_201207_048b.pdf
Transcript HHA # 00179 Page 1 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 HHA # 00179 Interviewee: W. D. Frazell Interviewer: Steven Wiltz and David DiTucci Interview Date: July 31, 2002 Interview Site: Lafayette, LA Interview Module & No.: MMS: SW015 Transcriber: Lauren Penney [Transcriber’s note: The majority of “uhs” and “ums”, repeated words, and the interviewer’s backchanneling have not been transcribed for the purposes of readability. The audio quality is poor due to electronic beeping especially at the beginning; most of the inaudible portions in the transcript are due to this beeping.] Ethnographic preface: [Update] TRANSCRIPTION Interviewer initials: [SW] and [DD] Interviewee initials: [WF] DD: Interview with W. D. Frazell. It is seven, 31, 2002, 10 a.m. in his office. Mister Frazell, we’d like to start out with a little background information. Where were you born? What your father did for a living. How things- WF: I was born in a little town in central Texas close to Waco, called Riesel. DD: Riesel. WF: That’s a German name, German community. I’m not Ger-, of German descent myself, but I HHA # 00179 Page 2 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 happened to be in that little town. SW: What year was that? WF: Nineteen thirteen. [Slight pause] I’m now 89 years old. DD: Still goin’ strong huh? WF: [Still workin’?]. [All chuckle] I’m he-, still here. DD: Yeah. And what did your father do for a living? WF: My father was a farmer. And I grew up on a farm. DD: And how did you get into the oil industry? Or- WF: Well- DD: Well, I’m sorry. What was your educational background f-, I mean- WF: I went to SMU, I got a bachelor of science degree from SMU. Then I went down to the University of Texas at Austin and I got a master of science in geology down there. Finished there in 1935. [Pause] SW: Right in the middle of the Great Depression, right? WF: Yeah. [Chuckles] During all the time I was at SMU they were, times were very, very hard, yeah. DD: Tell us a little bit more about that. How bad were things when you were at SMU? WF: Well I went up there and lived with my sister who had two small children. And I, because she had to feed those kids, I took a cow with me to college. Not many people do that, but I did. From the farm, I was had [Inaudible]. And I was able to milk that cow and furnish milk to those children and sell milk up and down the street some to raise me some money to keep goin’. But times were really hard and so not everybody takes a cow to college. [Chuckles] DD: [Chuckling] That’s true. Okay. Um- SW: You got your master’s in geology you said? WF: Geology. SW: Geology so uh, that’s 1935. Did you begin working right after that? WF: Uh, yeah, when I got out of SMU I couldn’t get a job. And so I went on down to Texas and the day I graduated with my masters, I went over to Houston and I got a job that day. Immediately. And they, the work, I got a job with what they called Union Producing Company, HHA # 00179 Page 3 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 with the United Gas Pipeline Company at the time. And they send me to Shreveport to work in, out of their Shreveport office. And… I went up there and the company put me to work as a scout, oil scout. SW: So as, what do you do as a scout? WF: Well do, if you understand the oil business, various companies have representatives who get together in what’s called a “scout meeting” and exchange information on their wells, what their doin’, and that way [why?] the company knows what’s goin’ on in the area. And I attended scout meetings at that time. All, I was a geologist, but [Inaudible] scouts [‘cause?] I knew what I was hearin’. DD: Right. So how did you scout at that time? How did you find the oil at that time? Or did you just wildcat? WF: No I didn’t, I was not ‘course driller at that time. I was workin’ for a company. I was goin’ around in north Louisiana and south Arkansas and east Texas, and just keepin’ the company aware of what other companies were doin’. SW: Ah, so you figure if another company is spendin’ a lot of money in this area than there’s probably some oil there. WF: Well- SW: [And you?] let your company know. WF: At that particular time a new field had been discovered in northwest Louisiana, above Shreveport, called the Rodessa Field. R-O-D-E double S A. And I watched the early wells come in. I looked, I saw it coming in [Coughs] [Inaudible] some oil, kick some oil loose. And through the years why, the company drills a number of wells in that field. It’s up right on the border with Arkansas. [Slight pause] [I’ll tell you since then?] I became more involved in actual geology, drawin’ maps and so forth. And somebody else took over the scouting job. And [Coughs] so I was really doing real geology for the first time. Then came the war [out?] years. I- DD: Before we get to the war years, can you tell us how you did the ge-, geological work for the oilfield? Um, exactly how did you, what did you do for… WF: Well, I, when the company was drilling wells I would go out and watch the well cuttings and examine ‘em, I’d taken a little paleontology, micropaleontology, and I was tryin’ to locate oil-bearing sand for the company. And I would sit out there and watch ‘em drill and keep the company advised of what I could find out from drilling the hole in the ground. So we used that information to draw maps and d-, and look for other locations. And that particular area I was interested in was called Sugar Creek in north Louisiana. [Pause] DD: So you basically took a soil sample and examined it and- WF: Well, well cuttings. HHA # 00179 Page 4 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 DD: Well cuttings, okay. WF: Not soil. DD: Not soil. [Chuckles] WF: Uh- DD: And examined it to see if it was oil-bearing. WF: And I was able to correlate that well with other wells that had already been drilled in the area. I [examined?] the samples. I, in those days they were [Inaudible] electric logs pretty regular. Hadn’t been around ‘em too much before that. And we used the electric logs to correlate one well to another. And it would help you locate the producin’ sands. DD: Okay, so you kind of just took well cuttings and kind of looked at various well cuttings and try to see where the oil was. Okay. That makes sense. [Chuckles] Um- SW: And when the war years come did you- WF: What? SW: The war years came after that. You went off to, you were drafted for World War Two? WF: Oh, I didn’t quite catch- SW: You were drafted for World War Two? WF: Well I volunteered, went in. And it’s kind of funny in a way. I knew how to type, I’d taken typing lessons in college. And I report in to the service, I went into the Navy, I was interested in the Navy. And I recorded on my, the papers they have you fill out that I knew how to type. So they immediately sent me to Seattle, Washington, to work in the code room up there because I could type. [All chuckle] And I stayed there for about, almost, well eight or 10 months. And then they replaced me with a WAVE. DD: A WAVE? WF: A WAVE. That’s a female- DD: Oh. [All chuckle] WF: [Chuckling] Soldier. And she could type. Of course they, then they send me in [Inaudible] then. And from Seattle, why, they send me across the United States to uh, Princeton University for some reason or other. I can’t tell you exactly why. [Chuckles] But I went to Princeton for about three months and then they put me in the Navy gun-, the Navy gunnery school. And… so they put me on a ship. We went down to the Gulf of Mexico, we did a lot of practice with the guns and so forth. And that was the latter part of nineteen and… forty-two I guess. [As a?], finally they put me on a merchant ship with Navy gun crew. The gun crew was of course to try to HHA # 00179 Page 5 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 keep the Germans from sinking the ships. [Coughs] So we went to England and got ready for the invasion of France. And I was on this merchant marine, [Inaudible] vessel, there was what they called a Liberty ship in those days. And so we then took a bunch of tanks, trucks, and people across the English Channel to what they called “Omaha Beach” in France. [Coughs] And discharged all that equipment and [Inaudible] shallow water along the beach there in France. I stayed on board the ship, I didn’t go ashore. And all through the years, why, the British kept flyin’ across and they were bombin’ the Germans. And I didn’t have anything to do with that. But I made about 30 trips across the channel in the next year. Takin’ people and tanks and trucks, soldiers, and one t-, and one time we carried about 200 second lieutenants. [Coughs] Regular lieutenants [must’ve kind of?] had hard times and they had to replace- DD: [Chuckling] Apparently so. SW: That was [Inaudible], right? [Chuckles] WF: Well I mean of course they were, the troops were ground troops and the Germans got rid of a lot of ‘em. And that, after that, why, I came back to the States. Thought I was goin’ to Japan. But while we were got on relieve there around New York, why, they built, they dropped the bomb on Japan and that stopped that area, so I got out of the service shortly after that. DD: Okay. WF: So I went back to report to Union Producing Company in La-, in Shreveport and they had promised to put me back to work. And after I went back to work a little bit, why, an independent fella named Mister [Wolf, Billy Wolf?], offered me a job away from the company. And so he was, he had a drilling company and I, he wanted me to find him some places to drill for oil. [Coughs] And I worked a few months for him. And we didn’t accomplish very much. SW: And that was Shreveport? WF: Then [Coughs] a Mister [Wieless?] who was investor there, he was president of the local bank. And he offered me a job and turned out that Wolf said, “Well fine, like to have you join me, we’ll have a partnership.” [Coughs] So we formed Wolf and Wieless Oil Company. And it was [Inaudible] WWF. DD: That’s why it’s on the door. Okay. WF: And… in west central Texas where I worked with Wieless to start with, with WWF. I was in Coleman and Wells County in, that’s south of Dallas in west Te-, west Texas. And we found some oil out there and it was, wells were shallow, thirty-five hundred feet deep or thereabouts. And [Pause] they found that the pressure in the oil [beds?] was [Inaudible] pretty sharply. And so we found a [water flood field?] where we’d, you send water in some wells and make the oil flow out other wells. And we formed a unit there and even built a small gasoline plant to make gasoline out of the oil and gas. After about four or five years out there, I was livin’ in Abilene, Texas, at that time. Workin’ in the field. I de-, south Louisiana got pretty active. DD: What year was this?HHA # 00179 Page 6 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 WF: Oh this was about nineteen and… fifty-five or so. And so I decided [Coughs] that I would come back to Louisiana and get out down in south Louisiana, a very active oil area. And one reason, Mister Wieless had some drillin’ rigs down here. He had drillin’ rigs, drillin’ company. So I thought I could use those rigs to [make deals?]. Buy a bunch of acreage and I’d sell some people, get money to drill wells and if we had the rigs were available, why, that’d be a little cheaper. We could use ‘em. It turned out that I was not able to use their rigs. I mean, the activity was pretty severe and the rigs were always operatin’ for somebody else. So I set up an office here in Lafayette. And because I had worked primarily in the shallower stuff in west Texas, why [Coughs] I got involved in shallower areas down here. Like over on Lake Charles and like little town over there called Elton. And we drilled s-, eight or nine thousand foot wells out there. But there, several didn’t have high pressure or anything like that, so [Inaudible] operations. And later on I got into [Audio goes in and out for almost 10 seconds, inaudible] had drilled a well or two down there, but the wells all that they got, they would consider inadequate for a big company. So I [Inaudible] to drill additional wells on their leases, their state leases. And so we made some production, gas production. And so we drilled a number of wells. Some we produced oil and some gas. And there are still about three wells down there that I have an interest in, they’re still producing pretty good. [Chuckles] [Forty?], I got a thing up here. Company ‘preciated me bein’ with ‘em 45 years. And finally they [got to?] shut down their operations. [Pause] December 1996. So I’ve been retired more or less ever since then. SW: From I guess around… around 1955 when you guys formed it you worked all the way to 1995- WF: Forty-five years they gave me this [Inaudible] thing up there. SW: Forty-give years and they only gave you that plaque? [All chuckle] WF: Well I had some interest in the production, the properties that we drilled and we made some oil and I ma-, I still have some workin’ interest in the wells that are still producin’. That was my compensation. ‘Course I drew a salary from ‘em, too. And we stayed pretty regular down there. I uh, I had some friends from Shreveport that helped finance some of the wells that we drilled. And only thing I know that geology [Inaudible] and so forth just part of the game. Big part of the game is financing your ideas to get the wells drilled on your ideas. [Coughs] SW: You came here to Louisiana in around 1950s. [Inaudible]- WF: I came to Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1935. SW: Yeah, but I’m talkin’ about south Louisiana, I’m sorry. WF: South Louisiana, I came in here in 1955. SW: And you’ve pretty much been here since then. In this, workin’ out of this area. Okay. Did you move into the Oil Center at that time? WF: Well we had a r-, a buildin’ over there ‘cross from the [Midsouth?] Bank. Which [Inaudible] and Logan, a company out of Shreveport. Their man down there was named Roger Ogden. And we got together and took some rooms in that buildin’ over there. A girl, a woman’s clothing HHA # 00179 Page 7 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 store’s there now. But I stayed there almost 30 years. Of course the Oil Center got awfully busy during that time. And about nineteen and… fifty or somethin’ like that, they moved me out that office into what they call the Garden Area of the Oil Center. Because they [Coughs] Mister Heymann’s son wanted that office for the, some lady’s shop. They moved us out of it. We stayed over there about four years and then they went and shut the company down and so I moved in this area. It’s kind of a hard place to find and I, ‘course I don’t do much, I don’t have much space, but [Inaudible]. [All chuckle] SW: So when they made y’all leave out of that other building, was there any hard feelings? WF: About what? SW: That made y’all leave from that building to go to another one. WF: No no, I, no, we, ‘course we did what we were told to. [All chuckle] SW: No problems then. When you were, when you’re out in the field, you went out in the field a lot to do your work, what kind of work schedule did you keep? Did you, would you go out for two or three days at a time and then come back in? Or were you gone for a week at a time or- WF: Sometimes, yeah. I’d go out there and stay ‘til you finish whatever your object is. SW: Oh okay, so it’s job completion first. So that could be two days, that could be 10 days. DD: And you were still doin’ geology kind of things when you were, when you moved to Lafayette? WF: Well when I moved to Lafayette, yeah, I was doin’ geology. DD: Okay, just wondering. SW: [Inaudible, overlapping speech]. DD: Okay, just, I just want to make sure for the record. WF: Yeah. We, I draw [find?] a little structure here, I [drew structure?]. [Coughs] And I was the only one down there, so I supervise buying leases [Inaudible] and gettin’ drillin’ contractors signed up to drill wells on it. [Coughs] I did the whole works. SW: Yeah, you were putting together deals and everything, too. How did that, sounds like kind of a hectic work schedule where you weren’t sure if you were gonna be gone for more than a few days or a week or so. How did that affect your personal life back here in Lafayette or your family life? WF: Oh now, I mean, when you’re in the oil business you expect to go to the field now and then. Just like my step-son’s just come back, he’s a drilling engineer, has just come back from Tunisia in northern Africa. Stayed over there six weeks until they finished that job. I haven’t talked to him personally yet. I don’t know exactly what they did. But… I, well my, for instance, the HHA # 00179 Page 8 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 company sent me over to Monroe, Louisiana, to drill a well alongside the river over there north of town. And they put a trailer house out there for me to stay. [Coughs] And I stayed for several weeks there ‘til that well was drilled and [down?]. But you have to know a good bit about the land, buying leases, returns of the leases, and it’s better if you know somethin’ about drillin’ wells or, and drillin’ rigs. And then after you find some production, know about completion the well and putting Christmas trees on ‘em and arranging for pipelines to sell the gas. So really you gotta, supposed to, I was not an engineer, but you do some engineering. [Coughs] But you gotta be pretty versatile. [Pause] SW: Back then y’all just did everything. WF: I was the only one down there. They did the bookwork for me in Shreveport, most of it. DD: And that was about it, yeah. WF: They’d my check down here. [Chuckles] DD: Yeah. [Chuckles] [WF coughs] [Pause] WF: I don’t know if I’ve been much assistance to you- DD: Oh yeah, you have. SW: Oh yeah, yeah. We have some more questions if you don’t mind. [Chuckles] WF: Okay. [Chuckles] DD: Yeah. SW: I understand that lots of people got into the oil industry because the money was pretty good, too. WF: Lots of people did what? SW: Got into the oil industry because the money was good. WF: Oh yeah, back in the- SW: Gettin’ paid well for doing what you were doing. WF: In the early ‘60s and so forth, why, ‘course this Oil Center was just booming. And when I first came down here in ’55 I had a hard time findin’ a lease. They hadn’t built up very much yet. This other fella that I shared a couple of offices, he was [Inaudible] [Coughs] and ‘course then, now there’ve been hundreds of buildin’s built here at the Oil Center. That all started back around 1955 and worked on up until things kind of slowed down [Inaudible] the early ‘80s when it slowed down somewhat. [Slight pause] SW: Did you, was the work you ever did when you were out in the field, was any of that ever HHA # 00179 Page 9 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 dangerous? [Pause] WF: Well uh- SW: [Inaudible] heavy machinery and stuff like that? WF: When we were drilling in Atchafalaya Bay we had to go out in boats to the rig. The water was not deep, [25?] feet deep, but nevertheless it was water. And I remember one case we ran into a [boat?] down there. And I was scarred up a little bit, not serious, but I did get some scars. [Coughs] But, ‘course you go up on the derrick floor, why, you never know, you can always get in trouble if you’re not careful. DD: Bein’ from outside of Lafayette, how did the people treat you when you got here? WF: Oh I had no problems. Lot of the oil people were from Texas already. That was kind, this state was Huey Long country about the time I came over. DD: That’s true. [All chuckle] WF: And, well I never had any problems. In fact, I was very fortunate. In Shreveport I met some younger men, petroleum engineer and another fella who was, worked in the office of the Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company. And they were about my age and so we got together, we found an apartment, condo, we lived together. And they had been there a few months before me and they already knew some people and they introduced me around. And so I had a very, very pleasant life up there. SW: Did you meet your wife in Louisiana or in Texas? WF: My first wife worked for the company I went to work for up there. And I met her in [Inaudible, all chuckling]. [Coughs] But uh… I met a lot of girls up there at that time. And we had a dance club, country club dance club. I got involved, one of ‘em was from Natchez, Mississippi, and he a sailboat over there. I got involved with sailboats in Cross Lake in Shreveport. And that’s probably why I kind of went to the Navy. I already knew port from starboard. [All chuckle] [Coughs] DD: So you [Chuckling] already had an advantage over everybody. Um, how did your wi-, how was your relationship with your family affected by having to go for weeks at a time sometimes or- WF: I wouldn’t say, we did later break up, not because I was in and out. No no, I think if you work particularly in the oil business, if your wife or whoever you’re associated with has any knowledge at all, they know you got to be out now and then. As I said, my step-son, petroleum engineer, he has spent some time in China and uh, north Africa, and as far as I know, that hasn’t affected his married life. DD: Oh, that’s good. SW: I hear some stories about wives of men who work offshore and they get used to the HHA # 00179 Page 10 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 schedule, so by the time he’s been in for two weeks they can’t wait for him to leave. [All chuckle] WF: Well I have, in addition to the step-son I’ve mentioned, I have three sons of my own. The youngest one decided he’s gonna be a geologist and he studied geology, got a degree in geology. But he went over to Houston, took a job with some company over there, and [Coughs] he was never able to t-, to get ‘em to take a deal he [looked?]-, that people bring in. After a year, why, he decided the hell with geology and he went, stopped, went to law school, so he’s become a lawyer now. DD: Oh. [All chuckle] WF: The other, well the other boys got very interested in computers. And he later worked for a big bank in San Francisco as a communications department [Inaudible] use a computer on [that?]. [Coughs] The other son became an architect, so that’s. DD: So none of ‘em are in the oilfield now? WF: None of ‘em in the oilfield. DD: Is there, you think there’s a reason for that or? WF: Well the younger one started out in the oil business, but he couldn’t- DD: He couldn’t make it, yeah. WF: Couldn’t make it. [Chuckles] And he really didn’t stay long enough to try. He was discouraged right away because the little company he worked for wasn’t takin’, weren’t taking any deals and so [Inaudible]. SW: It’s competitive. Kind of tough. DD: Do you think that you being in the oil industry all your life affected their decisions not to go into it or? [Pause] WF: Oh I don’t know if it had any real affect on ‘em. [Coughs] The one that was an architect was more or less art-inclined. He liked to build things and so forth. And the other one that got in computers, I don’t know how to operate a computer myself. [DD and WF chuckle] SW: Different technology generation now. WF: They all gave me, all my kids got together gave me a computer for my seventy-fifth birthday. DD: Oh yeah? WF: I still haven’t learned how to work it. [Chuckles] DD: A paperweight, huh? [All chuckle] HHA # 00179 Page 11 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 SW: But uh, in your opinion, what has oil and gas done for Lafayette? WF: Oh it’s made Lafayette. Before the oil business, why, there were these little villages down here, like Lafayette and Opelousas, and, well, New Iberia, Abbeville. They’re all small towns with probably five or eight thousand people. [Coughs] And it was just one of ‘em. But Mister Heymann, the realtor, had bought this land out here where the Oil Center is and he was helpful in building space, office space for people to move in. And this became in a city much larger than any of the other communities around. And that’s all due to the oil business. And Mister Heymann’s recognition of the strength of the oilfield. ‘Course he had the land here, people came, “Where’s an office? Where’s an office? Where’s an office?” And [Coughs] I’m sorry to bother y’all with. SW: Oh that’s okay. WF: But for instance I pay my rent to one of Heymann’s heirs for this office right here. [Inaudible] still own the property. And ‘course there must be 100 buildin’s here in the Oil Center. Uh, they came in and he helped ‘em. For instance the Petroleum Club [Inaudible] that was built on Heymann land. And sometime later after people got to runnin’ the club they found out that they owned the building, but they didn’t own the land. [All chuckle] [Chuckling] He just loaned ‘em the land. SW: So Mister Heymann was instrumental in developing oil- WF: Yeah, he was instrumental in Lafayette’s development, well, I wouldn’t say the oil business, but Lafayette’s development with the oil business. SW: That’s what I meant. He brought all these companies here because he had the foresight to build these offices. [Pause, sounds like a drawer was opened] WF: [Inaudible] DD: Might help a little bit, yeah. [Chuckles] [Pause] WF: Uh… SW: Bein’ from out of town, bein’ from Texas and not from Louisiana, did, when you came here, when you moved here, there’s a different lifestyle here obviously than what you experienced back um, for example the food. Did you take to that or did, are you a transplanted Cajun now or- WF: [Chuckling] No, no. Uh… I’m not a fanatical food particular, but I enjoy the gumbo and the fish particularly. And ‘course some folks, some of my friends are just very [hapt?] on food, they go around to every restaurant that opens around, they’ll make it. SW: Did you see that a lot with your co-workers in the oilfield? When they moved, when they came into Lafayette did they latch on to the Cajun-type of culture or uh, did they shun it? WF: Well… when you go out in the oilfield, I mean, you don’t really have too much contact with the workers out there. Talkin’ about the roughnecks, drillers, somethin’ like that. [Coughs] HHA # 00179 Page 12 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 DD: What about the other people that were doin’ the same kind of things as you, did they kind of latch onto the Cajun atmosphere? Other out of towners that were here in the Oil Center? WF: Uh, well, lot of ‘em worked out of this area. ‘Course a lot of ‘em were country people who went to oilfield. When I first came down here I, ‘course there was a lot of French spoken or Cajun. And I asked when I, one of my friends who had been here a while if I should go up to school, take some French. He said, “Aw, hell no,” says, “the type of French they speak down here, the folks in Breaux Bridge, you know, they [don’t?] understand the folks from Carencro.” [DD chuckles] [Coughs] SW: Wouldn’tve helped, huh? [Chuckles] WF: So I never lear-, took any French. DD: Yeah. [Chuckles] WF: ‘Course you come across, a few words you pick up. Like [something in French], “Let’s go.” [Chuckles] [Slight pause] SW: Back, you mentioned in the 1980s when the bust cycle hap-, how did that affect you? WF: Well of course I was gettin’ older, like [they always get old?]. [Chuckles] But I had a deal to sell and I did sell numerous deals. I, we had to go to Houston to find the money. I never had connections here that furnished me drillin’ money. [Coughs] But Houston or Dallas was a good place and ‘course having worked over there, I had some knowledge of some people. [Sneezes] [Pause] But I, what you… SW: Well I just, I know a lot of people got out of the industry at that time because there was just not, there was no work to go around, basically. Even, you know- WF: I’m sure- SW: In every level. WF: I’m sure there was, if you were lookin’ for a job, I’m sure there weren’t any. SW: Not at that time. WF: Because so many of the people that I had worked with me and some of ‘em who worked for us, they moved out of town, went to Houston or so. It got awful quiet and of course it’s quiet now. And remind me back when I got out of school, ‘course the [Depression’s on?]. Sun Company had an office in Dallas and I thought sure I was gonna get, go to work for Sun Company. When I got out SMU. But now they’ve moved off, most of their people out somewhere else and they had no space available. That’s why I went down at the university ‘cause uh, I felt like I was gonna have to have another degree to get a job. SW: It worked. [Chuckles]HHA # 00179 Page 13 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 WF: What? SW: It worked for you. WF: It worked for me, yeah. Sure did. SW: What do you see now? You said it’s slow now too, but where do you see the industry as it is now? Where is it going? WF: Well, ‘course offshore, in the Gulf particularly, a lot of the major companies, larger companies, Shell and others, are workin’ out there and I’m sure there are geological positions in those companies [Inaudible] spend their time out in the Gulf. [Coughs] I never worked out there myself. But in the Atchafalaya Bay, which is, you know, big bay south of here, why, it was almost like offshore in a way. I mean, you had to get out there by boat and so forth. But if I were gonna start again I think what I would go around is some of these old fields and try to rework ‘em carefully and see my, if, how much oil was passed by or gas was passed by. DD: See what’s left, yeah. WF: I know when I first started workin’ up in Shreveport we drilled some wells in Panola County, over near the Texas. Well gasoline, natural gas was sellin’ about five cents a [pound?] at that time. Well hell, find a little gas down there, why f-, why mess with it? You wouldn’t make any money. DD: Yeah, exactly. WF: But I suspect that there’s still some now with gas at two and a half or three dollars will make money. And ‘course there’s a lot of data now and some of this new seismic stuff that they use you could make a better than that pos-, probably. Although there are a lot of wells been drilled, there ought to be some really good maps made. I got some boxes out there you might have noticed. DD: Yeah, we saw- WF: I’m givin’ away to one of the log libraries a bunch of old logs, 30, 35 year old logs. I just don’t want ‘em destroyed. I’d like the library, ‘course we had, we have about two or three log libraries here in town. And I helped start one of ‘em, original one. A fella, Roger Ogden, and I tryin’ to find logs that we needed. [Inaudible] I had to go to Houston or Dallas sometime to find [Inaudible] logs. [Coughs] So we formed the [Inaudible]. And had about 12 to 14 members, they paid dues, we had a secretary. And our object was to collect all the logs we could. So if you had a deal out here and you wanted to check the area, why, you didn’t have to go to Houston or Dallas to find a log, we had one here in the library. SW: Where’s that located? WF: That particular one we had a fella come and join it with some small company and he was transferred to Houston and with the company over there he needed some logs, they decide they’d like to buy our log library. [That guy?] they offered, made an offer and we sold the log library to that particular company. Which was a mistake as far as I’m concerned. But they had another one HHA # 00179 Page 14 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 formed, Acadiana Log Library, which is a real good one. There’s another one, I don’t even know the name of it, in the next building over here. [Coughs] SW: They’re here in the Oil Center? WF: Yeah. And there’s another lady down here has a kind of a library where she sells you logs or sells, rents ‘em to you or somethin’ like that. It’s not a library like, as we had before. But there are many log libraries now. I think we formed, Roger Ogden and I formed is one of the earliest ones, maybe one of the first ones. Because, well, I mean, so many different people are drillin’ logs, I mean I kept the data and you don’t wanna see it lost. I’ve had people suggest I burn those damn logs. Hell, I wouldn’t do that at all. And I’m just waitin’, Bill Craig [DD chuckles] fella we’re givin’, ‘cause he belongs to that log library. He said [Chuckles] he said boxes are too heavy, he can’t carry ‘em. [All chuckle] [Coughs] SW: That’s interesting. WF: I thought after Bill had steered you folks into here he’d get y’all [Chuckling] carry the logs. [Slight pause] But a lot of five inch logs, the large scale logs, people didn’t need ‘em or didn’t use ‘em, and there weren’t many of ‘em made. We got a lot of old timers, though, that would like to see the five inch logs in producin’ zones. And as I said I think that there is a possibility of stuff behind pipe and scattered through the fields that just never was developed. [These are?] economics. DD: Could you explain what is, what is um, what the logs show you? What information is on the logs? Uh, is it the drilling record of a certain area or? WF: Well, the logs would show you where the sands are. They recognize sand as [quote/opposed to?] shale. And of course the curves on the right showed resistivity. [Coughs] And that supposedly showed you where the oil or gas production was. ‘Course the logs now have gotten very complicated, very sophisticated, and I don’t even know how to read ‘em anymore. DD: Really? [Chuckles] WF: But they show a lot of things that, on the amount of permeability they measure more, they show you, tell you a whole lot about the formation. And I’m sure in college you go through log courses. DD: I’m s-, yeah, sure you do. WF: To learn about the [new?]. And of course the new seismic stuff, the three-d and four-d [Coughs] have got so sophisticated that they can make a better map than you ever could with subsurface, with [Inaudible] logs. [Slight pause] But I believe a guy could make a livin’ workin’ existing areas. SW: Yeah, just pickin’ up new information from the logs, go and findin’ these wells, and just getting enough oil out of it to make it profitable. WF: ‘Course a lot of folks are goin’ off the coast of west Africa, which is very active area. And HHA # 00179 Page 15 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 there been new dis-, production found north of Scotland, on the- DD: The North Sea? WF: North Sea, yeah. And… there’s still some spots around to look for oil if you like lookin’ for it. DD: Yeah, sure there is. [Pause] Okay, um- SW: Anything else you’d like to add? I think we’ve pretty much asked you all the questions we need to ask you. [Chuckles] WF: Uh… SW: Any personal experience or anything that… WF: Well, I might just say one thing, it’s not much value, but I [was at the bar?] one night at the Petroleum Club and a fella came in and sat beside me who had just made a deal with a financier in Houston where he had, was lookin’ for deals. [Coughs] And I knew he had access to this fella with money. So he sat beside me and I started talkin’ about the deal I’d been tryin’ to sell over in Baton Rouge. He said, “Well, what’s it look like?” And I turn the ticket over and I drew a little map on the back of the ticket. His buddy says, “If it looks like that tomorrow, I’ll take it.” [WF and DD chuckle] So anyhow he did take it. [Chuckling] And we found a well. SW: That’s a good one. WF: But uh… it’s an interesting profession. SW: Do you have any regrets? WF: Huh? SW: Any regrets for getting into the oil industry? WF: I, I’m not sure what you said, but I’d say it’s an interesting profession. SW: Yeah. Now do you have any regrets for workin’ in the oilfield at all? WF: No, I managed to make a livin’ and got a little ahead. And we, I formed a little company, Frazell Investments Incorporated, which my lawyer son coaxed me into. [DD and SW chuckle] And it makes it simpler when you kick your bucket for tax purposes and so forth. ‘Cause they all have, all the kids have shares in this Frazell Investment Company and so they still have it and [Inaudible] argument about it. [Coughs] My second wife, her first husband was involved as a drillin’ contractor at Shell. So she understood what I was workin’ with. So she’s still here, still [talks?] geology. SW: I see you got a picture up there, is that the family?HHA # 00179 Page 16 of 16 Interviewee: Frazell. W. D. Interview Date: July 31, 2002 WF: That’s my family, yeah. And some of the in-laws. [Recording might be turned off and back on here, there’s a click] Uh… yeah, that’s [all of ‘em?]. [Pause] First, you gotta push a lot of people to go to college and go get good education. Fortunately my mother was a school teacher and she pushed all us kids to go to college, even the hard Depression times. And my oldest brother became a highway engineer, structural engineer. [Coughs] My second brother was c-, ‘came a doctor. And my sister was a school teacher. So uh, we had some friends who lived close to [Inaudible], we were [Inaudible] fault were kind of we-, east of Waco. And that, [they had a?] fault line produced some oil. And we were impressed by the amount of money that those folks we knew along that area. [Chuckles] [Quite a few?] [Inaudible]. But I guess money name of the game. [All chuckle] DD: That’s the way it works. Okay. SW: Well we thank you for uh, for giving us your time. WF: Well I hope it’s of some value. [Chuckles] DD: Oh yeah, definitely. SW: Definitely, definitely. It’s from a personal perspective, so it helps us. We uh, if you ever turn on that computer they gave you [WF chuckles] we’ve got a website here that you can go to. [Explains that they post pictures on the website; WF says when “the kids” come over they use the computer and that he used to use the computer to get stock reports; they talk about taking a photograph of WF] [END OF RECORDING]