Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Gil Mull, Interview 1, Part 2

This is a continuation of the interview with Gil Mull on October 20, 2004 with Karen Brewster in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is part two of tape number Oral History 2002-27-22. The interview continues in part three and four of tape number Oral History 2002-27-22, and parts one and two of tape number Oral History 2002-27-23. In this part of the interview, Gil talks about drilling for oil and the leasing of federal lands, his work as a drill geologist, and his family background and employment history.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-27-22_PT.2

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Oct 20, 2004
Narrator(s): Gil Mull
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) The leasing process on federal lands

2) General description of an outcrop, type of transportation, rig and airstrip assembly and rig transportation

3) The wildcat well, the Susie well, and the secrecy of information about oil exploration

4) The process of how wells are drilled

5) Communication of information about drilling reports, geological field reports, and oil or gas discovery

6) His employment as a drill geologist

7) Employment history, family background and enjoyment of his career

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: leasing -- process\ land -- state selection of\ Marshal, Tom -- state geologist\ Marshal, Tom -- background\ statehood act -- navigable water\ navigable water -- state land\ navigable water -- controversial\ statehood act -- clarification of navigable water\ lease sale -- first one\ lease sale -- location of\ Colville -- first lease sale\ lease -- bidding method\ British Petroleum -- responsible for\ Sinclair -- responsible for\ wells -- location of\ wells -- exploration of\ state lease sale -- first one\ British Petroleum and Sinclair -- bidding of\ acquisition of leases\ lease sale -- second\ Richfield -- bidding\ Humble -- bidding\ Sinclair -- withdrew\ bidding -- strategy of\ oil -- location of\ bidding -- certain structures\ British Petroleum -- smaller bid\ bidding -- location of area\ bidding -- goal of\ bid -- on flank acreage \ flank acreage -- benefits of\ British Petroleum -- acquired a productive field\ field -- type of\ field -- good oil potential\ bid -- process of\ bid -- highly competitive\ leases -- prior to drilling\ leasing -- acquiring the rights|

Section 2: structure -- looking for\ outcrop -- location of\ outcrop -- oil sands\ oil sands -- limited oil\ well -- informational purposes only\ field trips -- number of\ transportation -- type of\ airplane -- cargo\ airplane -- C-130 Hercules\ C-130 -- description of\ Richfield -- approval of C-130 lease\ first flight -- location of\ trips -- length of\ rig -- assembly of\ rig -- transportation of\ airplane -- benefits of\ barge -- difficulties with\ wildcat well -- challenges of\ wildcat well -- building of\ airstrip -- building of\ airstrip -- first one\ airstrip -- location of\ drill rig -- flown in\ wild cat drilling -- winter operation|

Section 3: wild cat well -- definition of\ wild cat well -- highly risky\ Susie well -- location of\ Susie well -- specific uses of\ British Petroleum -- Colville drilling\ information -- secrecy of\ leases -- Prudhoe Bay\ Prudhoe Bay -- well rig\ rig -- disassembly of\ rig -- relocation of\ rig -- transportation of\ Prudhoe Bay -- wild cat well structure\ transportation -- type of\ equipment -- transportation of\ well -- date of spudding\ airstrip -- winter type\ airstrip -- C-130 strip\ surface pipe -- depth of\ drilling -- summer shut down\ drilling equipment -- duration of in operation\ winter -- drilling activity\ oil samples -- analysis of\ geologists -- well site\ oil samples -- indicators\ oil samples -- testing of\ oil samples -- process\ Humble\ Richfield\ Exxon\ well-site geologists -- with specific companies\ information -- secrecy of\ drill stem test -- process of\ oil samples -- limited sharing of|

Section 4: wells -- drilling process\ subsurface -- controlling of\ wells -- drilling with mud\ mud -- purpose of\ mud -- mixture of\ high pressure gas -- reasons for blow-outs\ mud -- drilling uses\ drill stem test -- first uses of\ drill stem test -- process of\ mud -- weight of\ subsurface -- flow control\ drill hole -- pressure control\ drill stem test -- standard testing of hole formation|

Section 5: drilling -- process\ information -- certain secrecy\ communication -- methods of\ wild cat well -- description\ drill reports -- daily\ drill reports -- public to secrecy\ communication -- radio\ radio -- for public information\ air traffic controller -- 'ham radio operator'\ information -- confidential\ gas -- signs of\ information -- secrecy\ transportation -- of confidential information \ transportation -- type of\ communication -- phone\ phone -- private\ drill stem test -- reporting method\ well-site -- no phones\ well-site geologist -- responsible for\ drill crew -- positions\ drill crew -- responsibilities\ communication -- process\ Magoffin, Jim -- Interior Airways\ Jacobs, Bob\ planes -- type of\ location -- transportation to\ office -- location|

Section 6: employment -- enjoyment of\ drill stem test\ oil wells\ production test -- first to be there\ oil -- plentiful\ drill site -- field geologist\ geology -- differences in\ geology -- production of\ geology -- development\ geology -- fieldwork\ confirmation well -- location of\ ARCO base camp\ confirmation well -- depth of\ subsurface -- formation of\ discovery well -- definition of\ confirmation well -- quantity of oil\ oil -- plentiful\ rock -- formation of\ core bed -- description of\ well -- second on\ core bed -- process of\ core bed -- results of\ cores -- depth of\ cores -- unconsolidated\ second well -- completion of\ data -- analysis\ consulting firm -- independent\ information -- editing of\ information -- purpose for editing\ information -- provided an analysis\ oil -- largest discovery of\ analysis -- impact of\ headline news -- reporting of\ news -- largest oil field in North America\ oil fields -- comparison of\ geology -- excitement of\ geology -- development work\ geologic map -- excitement of|

Section 7: Richfield corporation\ Exxon Oil -- employment of\ Humble -- became Exxon\ career -- influences\ geology -- fieldwork\ fieldwork -- unlimited funding\ mapping -- field\ office -- location of\ home -- outside of Alaska\ employment -- in Alaska\ winter -- home\ summer -- employment\ rank exploration -- excitement in\ employment -- changes in\ employment -- differences in industrial to public\ United States Geological Survey -- employment of\ fieldwork -- mapping\ Gulf of Alaska -- mapping\ Gulf of Alaska -- logistics of location\ career -- change in\ family -- immediate\ family -- background\ Alaska -- working in\ employment -- travel\ family -- acceptance of career|