Jerry Clark

JerryClarkMy introduction to the oil and gas industry came at a very early age, I was born in Hebbronville, Texas where my father was store manager for the National Supply Company. We were your typical “oil field trash” family in that we were always subject to moving at a moments notice, always looking for the next oil boom.
I made many trips to various south Texas oil wells with my father delivering equipment to the drilling rigs, calling on customers, etc. The majority of our trips were on dirt roads since the only paved road was between Hebbronville and Laredo. Most of the roads in the area were ranch roads. The cars were fitted with large balloon tires, which made driving on sand easier—but nothing in those days was easy.
As a young kid, I saw billions of cubic feet of gas being flared to the atmosphere. American needed the oil for the war effort, and there was limited gas gathering systems in the area. At night it seemed as if the world was on fire. From my bed I could see the flares from the O’Hearn Field. Little did I know that somewhere out there was a geologist picking drilling locations—this knowledge was yet to come.
My family relocated to Corpus Christi in the middle 1940’s.
On one of my many trips with my dad, we passed a couple of rigs working between Robstown and Corpus Christi. He said, “you know, it takes a geologist to tell the drillers where to drill. You might want to give that a try in college.” So, in 1953 I enrolled in Del Mar College and took my first geology class.
Everyone needs a few breaks in life, I got my first big break while attending Del Mar College—I happened to walk by the placement office and noticed a posting for an oil and gas draftsman. I had no idea what a draftsman was or what they did. The man to see was Mr. Ray M. Low, the Getty Oil Company Geophysical Manager for South Texas. After a short interview, Mr. Lowe gave me a job for the summer, and that summer job started me down the road to a 52 year career in the oil and gas business.
The following summer I worked for Getty in Lafayette, Louisiana and the summer after that, I worked in Tyler, Texas for Getty. In 1958, I graduated from TCU with a BS in Geology and went to work for Getty fulltime in Houston, Texas.
After working there a year, I was transferred to Midland, Texas where I spent 14 years. Then I was transferred back to Houston as the Chief Geologist of the southern division. I left Getty after 25 years and relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas to work for Edwin L. Cox Oil and Gas as the division manager and stayed there for 10 years. The past 17 years I have spent working as an independent geologist.
It has been a long, dusty road from the kid watching the gas flares in Hebbronville to where I am today. The 52 years I’ve spent in the business has been quite a trip, and I’ve met some really great people and made lots of lasting friendships. As a geologist, one of the great thrills of my career was doing the wellsite geology and development work on the Vacuum Abo Field in Lee County, New Mexico—I had the privilege to log the discovery well that found 100 million barrels of oil!
My advice to young folk today starting a career in geology would be to follow your heart, make your breaks and develop a relationship with a mentor.

Jerry Clark – Geologist