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Conflicts Between Potash and Oil and Gas Developments

Bryant H. Croft, Proceedings of 10th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1965)

Whether one would say that the conflict between potash and petroleum developments first had its origin when Edwin Laurentine Drake moved his wooden rig and steam-driven drill onto a site near Titusville, Pennsylvania, [31] in the summer of 1859 and struck oil at a depth of 69 1/2 feet or when man, who seemed always to have known that farm manure was good for the land but until modern times did not know why, first discovered the worth of mineral fertilizers5 will probably depend upon the industry with which one finds himself aligned. Perhaps the truth of the matter is that the conflict began, at least in so far as the states of New Mexico and Utah are concerned, when the forces of nature commenced laying down the deposits of the Pennsylvanian period or epoch some 280 million years ago. During the next sixty million years or so, the potash beds of the Paradox Basin in southeastern Utah and the potash beds of the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico were both deposited on older formations in which the basic ingredients for making petroleum were already deeply buried.

Perhaps no one can be certain where petroleum came from, but most scientists believe that it was formed from deposits of tiny plants and animals that lived in shallow seas long ages ago. These deposits in time were covered by great layers of sediments which pressed a tremendous weight upon them. This the