The Father of Horizontal Drilling
We were all saddened to learn that George Mitchell died on July 26, 2013 at age 94. As most of you know, George is considered the father of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
After graduating from Texas A&M in 1940 with degrees in petrochemical engineering and geology, he served in the US Army during World War II. Afterwards he returned to Texas and formed a Mitchell Energy & Development Company with several partners. Then after a very successful wildcatting career, he proposed that oil and gas could be extracted directly from the sedimentary rock 1-2 miles below the surface rather than waiting a few million years for it to collect in pressurized pockets where it could more easily be extracted via conventional oil and gas wells.
Mr. Mitchell sold his energy company in 2002 for $3.1 billion. Forbes recently estimated his net worth at over $2 billion.
Philanthropy & Community Development
Over the years, Mr. Mitchell spent tens of millions rebuilding his hometown of Galveston and resurrecting their annual Mardi Gras celebration. He also donated the land for the Texas A&M campus at Galveston.
In the 1970’s Mr. Mitchell began development of The Woodlands, a 27,000 acre mixed use planned development area in suburban Houston that preserved the East Texas forest area. The Woodlands is considered one of the most successful planned developments in the US and is now home to over 100,000 people.