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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


The West Edmond Field was Oklahoma's most important oil discovery of the 1940s. It developed through the persistence of Ace Gutowsky, who claimed to know the location of potential oil fields by using so-called "doodlebug" techniques, a modification of the divining rod. He was convinced that oil was located to the west of the Edmond, Britton, and Oklahoma City fields, but reputable petroleum geologists dismissed his claims due to a lack of adequate geological and geophysical evidence.

Gutowsky found a backer for his project in D. D. Bourland of San Antonio, Texas. They spudded in on the Number One Wagner on January 2, 1943, in the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Section 32, T14N-R4W, Oklahoma County, a few miles west of Edmond. The well came in on April 28 in the Hunton limestone at a depth of 6,950 feet for a twenty-four hour flow of 522 barrels of oil.

By the end of 1943 the field was crowded with drilling rigs, and eleven large wells were producing. Almost immediately pipeline service was established, with the bulk of the production going to the Champlin Oil Refinery at Enid. The West Edmond Field produced 7,752,000 barrels of oil in 1944 to temporarily bring the state's sagging oil production to 1.5 million barrels more than the previous year. The field contributed to yet another statewide increase of 15 million barrels in 1945.

Bobby D. Weaver


Kenny A. Franks, The Oklahoma Petroleum Industry (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Carl Coke Rister, Oil! Titan of the Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bobby D. Weaver, “West Edmond Field,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=WE013.

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