Gull Island Will Blow Your Mind!
As the wind took that huge black cloud farther and farther north, it burned fiercely and seemed to turn an even deeper black. The ARCO official seemed to have an excitement about him that I had never seen before. He was elated and could hardly contain himself. He did not usually get this way ... it was not his nature.
"This must be a big one!" he exclaimed. "Something exciting must be happening. Maybe it's another big discovery." He looked and watched, and kept looking—he stood there as though he was frozen, but he was too exuberant to freeze. It seemed as though our hands were numb because we simply could not stop watching the size of that big burn, nor could we stop the excitement caused by what we were looking at. At last he looked back at me and said, "Chaplain, I think we have just proven something phenomenal—something we have been looking for for a long time. Come on, quick! Let's go back to base and look at the technical data. Let's see what we can find out about statistics. Chaplain, I think this is going to be exciting!" (Was that ever an understatement!?!)
We got back into the pickup truck, and he started off very quickly. He really drove fast that day. As he did so, he explained to me how you can tell what an oil well is going to produce by the burn, what the volume and the quantity are going to be, and what the pressure and the depth will be. He explained much of the technical detail as to how they drilled that well. He himself had followed it very closely, because they thought that possibly it might produce another pool of oil. They had hoped it might prove to be a pool as big as the one from which they were producing at Prudhoe Bay. If they could find another pool of oil and prove it, it would be one of the greatest finds in years.
So we rode very quickly back to the base and walked into the office. He did not hesitate for one moment to show me what it was that had been proven. He took out the statistics and showed me the papers, and let me see the proof of the find. He went from place to place that day with excitement in his voice as he told a few officials to come and look. The three or four officials that he had called gathered around to see what had happened at Gull Island.
All the time I was trying my best to find out what it was in specifics, because after all, I did not know all those terms he was using. I was a layman, and as a layman and a Chaplain, I didn't understand some of the data they were discussing, so I cannot present it here. They were so busy and excited themselves that they did not have the time to explain technicalities to me. However, I could tell by the excitement they were showing, and the way they were expressing themselves, that something big had happened.
After everyone had left the office, that oil company official said to me, "Chaplain, we have just discovered and proven another pool of oil as big and maybe even bigger than the Prudhoe Bay Field. This is phenomenal beyond words." He again said, "There is no energy crisis. Now we can build a second pipeline—now we can produce not only 2 million barrels of oil every 24 hours, but we can produce 4 million barrels of oil every 24 hours. Chaplain, this is what we as oil company officials have been waiting for."
Then suddenly the excitement was wiped off his face as he looked back at me and said, "I hope the Federal government doesn't pose any difficulty over this because of the fact that it's located on the very edge of the designated area from which we can produce." Then he looked back again and said, "Chaplain, if this is allowed to be produced, we can build another pipeline, and in another year's time we can flood America with Alaskan oil, our own oil, and we won't have to worry about the Arabs. We won't be dependent on any nation on earth. Chaplain, if there are two pools of oil here this big, there are many, many dozens of pools of oil all over this North Slope of Alaska." He went on to say, "Chaplain, America has just become energy independent." I must repeat that ... this high official of ARCO said, "America has just become energy independent."
I do not think that I have ever seen a man so excited as that man was that day, as he explained to me about that find at Gull Island.
That day I went on my way rejoicing. My, I was happy! This meant that if we could produce from the entire North Slope of Alaska, America would be oil independent! Four million barrels of oil every 24 hours-just from two of the many pools of oil! We don't have to depend on anybody. The energy crisis had just come to a screeching halt—this ought to hit the front page in every newspaper across America! This was the most exciting thing since the original find at Prudhoe Bay. Homes won't go cold anymore. American citizens will not be waiting in line for crude oil or gasoline any longer.
I think that night
I hardly slept, for I had just witnessed one of the most spectacular
events since the original find at Prudhoe Bay. I remember that evening
as I lay in bed, trying to count sheep and trying to find some way to
go to sleep. I kept going over all the things I had seen, and what I
had been told. In my mind I kept trying to think about that technical
data and to visualize it, and to understand some of the statistics I
had seen. I thought that I would wake up the next morning and hear the
entire nation of America literally shouting for joy. I thought that
no longer would there be any talk of an energy crisis. Yes, we are energy
The only thing they had to do at this point was to let private enterprise loose. Let them do what American private enterprise can do so gloriously—let them do what American enterprise has done so gloriously throughout all these years. Just let them have an incentive, and with an incentive like this, gas prices would come down, so that industry could run full speed ahead. The trucks would not be left without diesel fuel. There would be plenty of gas for my vehicle! Prices? Ha!-Tell the Arabs they can have their old oil! We don't need it. American enterprise has again done what they have always been able to do ... they have produced. Once again Yankee ingenuity has come to the aid of the American people.
So that night I went to bed dreaming of the glory of our great nation, as a red blooded American, proud of the fact that the Yankees had produced again, just as they always have. Yes, I went to bed on a happy note that night.
When I woke up the next morning, it was snowing outside. I had to get through the chow line right quick. I wanted to eat my breakfast in a hurry, to get back there to that camp again. I was quite sure that my excitement was shared by everyone by now, and that by the time I arrived there, the place would be crawling with reporters gathering all the data, for after all, a discovery of this magnitude should be spread all over the country.
I kind of wished that I'd called up that radio station that had asked me to give any special information, for this, of course, was phenomenal, the most phenomenal thing I had ever known. I wished I had taken them up on that toll-free call they had asked me to make when there was something special happening—oh, how I wished that I had called John Davis before and told him of this tremendous find. John Davis was with radio station KSRM, and I should have called him so he could announce this wonderful news to the whole world. I wished I had told him that they had just discovered a pool of oil as big or bigger than the one at Prudhoe Bay, so he could put it on the national wire service. I wished I had done that the night before. Just a few hours later, oh, how I wished that! What I would have given today, if only I had done that yesterday! But I didn't. The fact is, at that time, I don't think the full magnitude of that find had fully registered on me yet.
That morning I finished breakfast quickly. I remember I got in that pickup truck and cranked it up and headed off to the base camp. I didn't even wait for the truck to warm up. This was exciting. This was phenomenal. The American people ought to rejoice over this!
I walked into the base camp, and there was nothing exceptional going on. I went by the security guard, and he was just nonchalantly sitting there, as if nothing special had taken place. I said, "Sir, where is Mr. So and So?" He said, "He's out riding around in his vehicle." I asked, "Can you call him on the radio?" He answered, "Sure."
He called him on the radio and said, "Chaplain Williams is here to see you." The man called back with what seemed to be an air of fear in his voice, and he said, "Chaplain Williams? Yes, please tell him to stay right there and not leave. I need to see him. Tell him to please wait for me in my office. I'll be in immediately."
I went to his office and sat down, and wondered why it was that on this day the trumpets were not sounding. This was a phenomenal thing, and yet there seemed to be no fuss at all about it. Sure enough, without delay, the oil company official soon walked into his office and closed the door behind him. He looked at me with a frown on his face and said, "Chaplain, what you saw yesterday, don't you ever as long as you live, let anything out that would tell anyone the data that you saw on those technical sheets."
I said, "But
sir, that's going to end the energy crisis in America!"
I should stop at
this point and state that he did not tell me not to tell the story of
Gull Island, but he merely said, "We both may be in trouble if
you ever tell the story of Gull Island." I watched with my own
eyes what I never thought I could see in the United States of America
—maybe in socialist Russia, yet—maybe under a dictatorship,
but in America? No! After all, this was the country "of the people,
by the people, for the people." Within a few days after
the find and the proof of the find (proof of a vast amount of oil),
I listened as that official told me that the government had ordered
the oil company to seal the documents, withdraw the rig, cap the well,
and not release the information about the Gull Island find. That oil
field is partially under the area that the oil companies were not allowed
This company official said to me,"Chaplain, that great pool of oil is probably as big as the Prudhoe oil field, it has been proven, drilled into, and tested—we know what is there and we know the amount that is there, but the government has ordered us not to produce that well, or reveal any information as to what is at Gull Island."
I could hardly believe what I heard that day. I walked out of the oil company official's office very perturbed, because again we could be lied to, the American people would be deceived again—the truth would not be told. As I walked out of that office I realized that I was only one of about six men alive who would even know the truth about Gull Island, or would ever even see the technical data. I was astonished that day because of this restriction on releasing data about the production from beneath a small island out in the Arctic Ocean. This could end the oil crisis, but I had come to the conclusion in my mind, with no doubt whatsoever, that the Federal government would never want that oil produced.
It was not the oil companies that ordered the rig removed and the well capped. It was not the oil companies that said, "We cannot go beyond our 100-mile boundary. "It was not the oil companies that said, "We will not tell the American people the truth." Rather, it was your Federal and State government ... and my Federal and State government—the officials elected by us to represent us for our welfare.
Gull Island was capped and the rig was removed, and the truth has never been told ... until now!