Drilling for oil and gas in South Park has spanned more than a hundred years, beginning in the early 1890s, when the first test well was drilled (Cullen, 1960). Oil Creek (Fourmile Creek on present-day maps), which the explorer Pike followed into South Park, had been named several years earlier from the oil seeps prevalent along its banks. Some of the companies active in South Park have included the McDannald Oil Company, headed by A. T. McDannald (who had acquired the Hartsel Ranch in 1946), which drilled three wells south of Hartsel; the Shell Oil Company, which sank six wells east of Hartsel in 1956 (Cullen, 1960; Simmons, 1966); and the Geary Oil Company, which drilled one well in 1967 and two stratigraphic tests in 1970 (De Voto, 1971). There have been both oil and gas shows in tests, but no wells have been completed as commercial producers in South Park. Active oil and gas exploration continues today.
Subeconomic uranium was found by the Tidewater Oil Company during their drilling of 200 exploration holes in stratified sedimentary deposits in South Park during the late 1950s. Several other companies, including Kerr-McGee Corporation and the Getty Oil Company, drilled exploratory holes in the 1960s, but exploration for uranium had diminished greatly by the 1970s (De Voto, 1971).
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