One of the two richest oil fields in the world. Discovery began in 1920 at a Mitchell County Well. Next came the 1923 Big Lake Strike, then the wild 1925 boom in Upton County, followed by production in Andrews, Crane, Ector, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Ward, Winkler and 24 other counties. In some years new wells averaged 38 a week. Fortunes were made, lost, then regained—all within months. So great were yields that oil brought 50 cents a barrel, while drillers paid $5.00 a barrel for drinking water.
Area is 88,610 square miles, with center here at Odessa. Extends across a deeply buried prehistoric sea that more than 250 million years ago contained much fish and reptile life, including dinosaurs. Shores and islands later grew giant vegetation, until earth changes buried animals and plants in pockets that turned hydrocarbons into petroleum.
In 40 years from its discovery, the Permian Basin, was producing 53% of total oil in Texas and 20% of U.S. crude oil. It is one of the world's largest producers of channel carbon black. Other by-products are sulphur, asphalt, synthetic rubber ingredients and petrochemicals.