I joined the oil industry when I was 19 and stayed for the next 50 years: first with BP in England, then with OSCO in Iran, and around the world on Mobil projects before retiring in Texas. I remain interested in the energy industry. This small oil field, not five miles from my home, is a relic from earlier days kept alive by modern technology and good prices. The Blue Ridge Dome was first discovered by Gulf Oil in 1919 and is still producing oil almost 100 years later. The field has produced more than 24 million barrels of oil from less than 1,200 acres. Early Blue Ridge Dome wells routinely produced at rates upward of 1,000 bpd but production has declined significantly since those days.
Gulf Oil has long since been absorbed as part of Chevron and the field is now operated by a small independent oil company head-quartered in Australia. They keep costs to a minimum and this pump-jack is typical of their current operations. This field retains a strong photographic (and professional) fascination - frequent work-over rigs, obsolete equipment lying around, and that pervading smell of crude oil.