March 2007

OwenMarchThe Phase IMaps in School Project 2006-2007 to place the USGS Time and Terrain Geologic Map of the US in 100 schools in the Coastal Bend before the end of this school year is on track.

The Phase IISafari in South Texas
Texas A&M University Kingsville (TAMU-K) has collected bones from more than 20 species of extinct animals from a gravel pit just west of Corpus Christi over the past 16 years. The diversity of animals rivals that from the La Brea tar pit fauna and also of the Anza-Borrego fauna in California. The plan is to prepare a permanent display for each middle school that contains:

  1. large, actual bone from an extinct mammal that was collected in Nueces, County
  2. drawing of the skeleton of the extinct animal with the displayed bone highlighted
  3. artists drawing of what the animal looked like when alive with reference scale
  4. a map showing the Nueces River flood plain as it looked 18,000 years ago
  5. an artists rendition of the Corpus Christi Bay “Serengeti Plain” showing the diverse
    flora and fauna

This plan includes cooperation of the TAMU-K and the Corpus Christi Geological Society. We had this incredible diversity of animals and we think all the students in our area should be aware of this. The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History is in the process of changing its emphasis and being renamed the Corpus Christi Museum of History—so all the more reason to get these displays in the schools because they won’t get it in our local museum.

Funding for a project like this will be considerably more than for Phase I, but I think it is worthwhile. And like Win Sexton has always said, “good ideas will get drilled”—so I am hopeful this will get drilled also. I have been in contact with two foundations that have suggested that we submit a written proposal—should be done by April. And I am attending an AAPG leadership conference in Tulsa with other society presidents where I hope to get some ideas. And I would like input from the membership on any ideas or comments or suggestions.

At Sexton Oil in the late 1980’s, after the prospects were put together and brochured, we needed to sell 100% of each one we generated and that entailed a lot of traveling—we showed our big one to over 80 companies with, at the most, two showings per day. A quarter was the most any company generally wanted and some did not want to be the first to take a piece or they wanted the last quarter and on and on. And then we scheduled the companies to review the seismic data at Dick Brewer’s office in Houston. And if a company liked the prospect, then they needed to negotiate the deal with Win—and he was tough. The better the deal, the tougher the trade.

So I had to do a lot of traveling and my kids were 9 and 6. I remember a Southwest Airlines magazine ad in the late 80’s that had a picture of a little girl looking out of a window of her home in the evening and the ad stated:
“We will get you, on time, to your most important meeting of the day—Home.”

I left Sexton Oil & Minerals to join Harkins & Company in early 1987—my continuing saga of 35 years in the oil business continues in this issue with Lessons Learned.

Owen Hopkins 2/08/07
Picture at the top was taken at Sal de Atacama in the Atacama desert in northern Chile—this 1300 square mile closed salt field is 7500’ above sea level. A smoldering, 18,334’ Lascar Andes volcano is in the background.