Brook Schyler | WSIL
For the first time in nearly 75 years, the United States has become a net exporter of petroleum, which consists of crude oil and natural gas liquids.
Seth Whitehead, Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Resource board, says shale drilling in places such as Texas and New Mexico, over the past ten years, is mainly responsible for the breakthrough in petroleum.
Although there’s no shale drilling in Illinois, oil production is still a major part of the economy. The state’s oil wells pump 8-9 million barrels of crude oil annually. That’s just one day’s worth of crude oil production for the entire country.
“It’s a small piece of the pie, but the impact that our small industry has on the state is anything but small,” Whitehead says.
Illinois has about 650 oil fields, mostly located in the southern part of the state. Whitehead says the industry directly employs 4,000 workers, mostly in White and Lawrence counties.
Lester D. Moore, a leader, and advocate for the oil and gas industry on both the local and national level, passed away on October 27, 2018. Lester was born October 12, 1933, in the small hamlet of Ellery which is located in both Edwards and Wayne Counties, Illinois. He grew up on a small farm where life was a challenge. Lester told of a friend who stated that he was in good shape when he got a new piece of cardboard to put inside his shoes.
After graduating from Edwards County High School, Lester traveled to Champaign to attend the University of Illinois where he graduated with a Petroleum Engineering Degree. Upon graduation, he entered the Schlumberger training program but then was drafted into the Navy where he spent two years in the Civil Engineering Corps. In 1957 he arrived in Evansville to work for Barger Engineering from 1957 to 1960 and then Campbell and Rickman from 1960 to 1967, both petroleum engineering firms. He soon struck out on his own to seek work as an oil consultant. He worked with operators and gained valuable experience in the industry, especially with secondary recovery operations. With the downturn in the industry in the 1960s, he decided to pursue development and operations for himself. The first few months were tough with Lester stating “I remember that the books had less than one page in them – the entire entry of expense and income.” Like all fledgling oilmen, he borrowed enough money to purchase a couple of stripper leases and as his production grew, he began to drill his own wells. In 1980 and 1981, he drilled 89 wells. Over the years, Lester continued his oil business through Moore Engineering and Production Company, Inc., (Mepco), and Southern Triangle Oil Co. He had offices in Evansville and Mt. Carmel and an equipment yard in Grayville. He also operated a supply store in Crossville. Lester’s career in the Illinois Basin spanned over 60 years. He remained active to the end. With his technical knowledge, experience, and expertise, he stood out in leading the industry in development and operations. He was always available and generous with his technical advice.
Lester was a leader in the Industry in the states where his production was located and also on the national level. He was a supportive voice for the Industry and was able to clearly and intelligently articulate industry positions with legislators and regulators. He was a longtime member of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association, the Indiana Oil and Gas Association, Independent Oil Producers Association, Tri-State, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He took Industry battles to Washington, Springfield, Indianapolis, and all points in between. While strongly advocating for the Industry, Lester was always a gentleman. In commenting on his relationship with antagonistic politicians, Lester stated “You call on them and stay friendly. We try to impress upon them that we are ordinary people like they are.”
Lester was highly respected in the Industry. Barry Russell, the President and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America stated “Lester was a strong part of the IPAA Volunteer Leadership for almost 40 years. It was a privilege to not only work closely with Lester on issues but also to consider him a close friend. On the board in those early days as well as at the time of his death, Lester was a tireless supporter of our Industry and of IPAA.” Craig R. Hedin, President of the IOGA, stated “Lester was one of my first clients in 1975. He was a most valuable mentor and friend for over 43 years – a great man. He would sit in meetings with his arms folded with that grin on his face. He would let everyone have their say and then he would speak his words of wisdom that cut right to the issue. He will be missed.” Mike Gibbons, Petroleum Engineer and former associate with Lester, was feeling stress on engineering a waterflood for Lester only to have it put into operation with oil at $9.00 a barrel. Lester advised that if oil prices did not come up within the next 6 to 12 months, it won’t matter because broke is broke and most small independents would be gone. His next bit of advice has stayed with Gibbons as he rose in the ranks to manage young engineering and geological staff over the years. Lester’s advice of “manage the things you can and cope with those things you cannot” has proven to be timeless.
Lester was an avid Fighting Illini fan, was a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a lifelong member of the Methodist Temple. Lester would be the first to credit his longtime employees for his success – Paul Hyatt, Whitman Myatt (a/k/a Unk), Stuart Davis, Wanda Embry, Charley Campbell, Ryan Bunnage, Melinda Sharp and Kelley Hoepner, all of Mepco; and Lynette Wiles and Roger Keen of Southern Triangle Oil Company. His associates have included, among others, Delwin Parker, Doug Reynolds, Jr., and Mike Gibbons.
Lester was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Joyce Moore, in 2017, and his parents. He is survived by his daughters, Leslie Hyland (Mike), Melinda Sharp (Jimmy), and Alyson Ross (Bennett); together with his grandchildren, Jennifer Kemling, Jeff Hyland, Stuart Davis, Jon Hyland, Jacob Ross, and Sam Ross; together with great-grandchildren, Payton, Carter, Cash, and Amelia; together with his brothers, Leroy Moore (Betty); and Chip Moore (Wilma). Lester is also survived by nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Funeral services for Lester were held on November 2, 2018, with burial in Bethel Cemetery in Ellery, Illinois. Memorial contributions may be made to the Methodist Temple in Evansville, Indiana, and the Bethel United Methodist Church in Ellery, Illinois, or to the donor’s favorite charity.
Farewell to an Industry Giant.
Edward Cross | The Kansas City Star
We stand at a critical juncture in the life of our nation and our state. We face what could be a very consequential election cycle. In addition, uncertainties in energy market dynamics create challenges for companies and citizens. Such developments have a profound impact on every American citizens.
Due to political agendas targeting oil and natural gas production, federal and state debate over taxes, regulatory issues, and energy policy often puts the oil and gas industry in the crosshairs. Also, small vocal groups of activists across Kansas and the nation continue to work to obstruct energy development under a false belief that oil and gas production and use are incompatible with environmental progress. Mischaracterizing oil and gas activity has been and continues to be a common practice and strategy for these groups.
Increasing taxes and regulations results in fewer jobs because businesses spend their resources on tax burdens and regulatory compliance instead of job creation. When tax expenditures and regulatory costs increase more than the real economy, the results are destructive to economic growth.
Trump administration energy policies have given our economy a substantial boost by encouraging, rather than blocking, the development of America’s vast energy resources, and by stopping the propagation of unnecessary and endless regulations that burden businesses. As a result, the economy is in a sweet spot with steady growth and broad improvement in the labor market. Going forward, the Trump administration has proposed a number of revised regulations that favors President Trump’s energy dominance agenda over duplicative and punishing regulations.
Larry Dean Taylor, 79, of Sesser passed away on September 26, 2018, at Parkway Manor in Marion. He was born on May 24, 1939, in West Frankfort, IL, to Ralph Henry and Altha “Billie” (Clark) Taylor. He married Bonnie Ellen (Legendre) Taylor on July 12, 1980, and she survives of Sesser.
He graduated from Goode-Barren Township High School in Sesser and Decatur Barber School. He also served his country in the Illinois National Guard for six years.
Larry was a longtime barber in Mt. Vernon, Waltonville, Ashley, and Sesser. He invented the “Taylor Vac”, a vacuum system for barbershop haircuts which was used by many shops in Southern Illinois. He was also the founder and president of Southern Illinois Oil Investments, Inc., an oil production company.
He was a member of the Webbs Prairie FWB Church until its closure and then attended Bear Point FWB Church.
Larry enjoyed camping, Civil War re-enacting, driving his antique cars, and wood carving.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie, a son Alan Dean (Lisa) Taylor of Mt. Vernon; a daughter Jennifer Lynn Taylor of Benton, her fiancé Kirk Hayes of Kell; a nephew Rick (Sue) Taylor of Woodlawn; and two grandsons Raini and Bodi Hawkins of Phoenix, Az.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a son Michael Ray Hawkins, a brother Donald R. Taylor, and a sister-in-law Peggy Taylor.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, September 29, in Sesser with Brother Larry Cook and Brother Merle Fullerton officiating. Burial was at Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Bear Point Free Will Baptist Church in Sesser.
Larry was a longtime member of the IOGA and operated wells in Jefferson and Franklin Counties.