In 2010, the AHC began an oral history project to look at the effects of natural gas development on Sublette County, Wyoming. We interviewed more than forty people; many were residents of Sublette County, but there was also a number of people outside that area who were very influential in that gas development. One of them was Neil “Mick” McMurry.
In November 2010, Mick sat down with Sublette County historian Ann Noble to talk about his philosophy when it comes to oil and gas development and the chances he took in developing a largely forgotten gas field that became the Jonah Field, one of the largest on-shore natural gas discoveries in the U.S. in the early 1990s. Mick sold his stake in the field to Alberta Energy (now Encana) and became of the Wyoming’s leading philanthropists.
Here is an excerpt from that interview:
[Jonah Field] was a great Wyoming story because a lot of good things started happening in 1991. We bought the leases at the right moment as far as value…Fracking technology was quickly improving. We had a very astute fracking engineer, James Shaw, and he devoted 100% of his time to McMurry Oil focused on fracking wells at Jonah, and we had a lot of other dedicated hardworking people that just focused on Jonah. Our whole company, McMurry Oil, Nerd, and Fort Collins, that’s all we had was Jonah, so we all got focused on Jonah, we didn’t look at any other investments, didn’t need to. We had lots of needs of spending money in the Jonah. We were having success; nobody else wanted it. And, you know, I think that just a lot of good things happened at the right moment for the State of Wyoming and McMurry Oil, and the family.
The entire interview (audio and transcript) is part of the Wyoming Energy Boom Sublette County Natural Gas Oral History Project.
The American Heritage Center joins many others in the state of Wyoming in recognizing Mick’s contributions to our state, especially to our home institution, the University of Wyoming.
–Leslie Waggener, Processing Archivist