About Echo Production
The companies, located in Graham, Texas, were formed as an outgrowth of S&S Oil Company, a Texas partnership founded in 1948 by W.G. (Bill) Street and his father, H.B. Street. The Streets were early settlers in Graham. H.B. Street’s wife, Bertha (Bill’s mother), was the daughter of E.S. Graham, the founder of Graham, Texas.
H.B. Street had originally been in both the mercantile business and the auto business. In exchange for settling a bad debt in the 1930’s, he accepted an oil lease trade. H.B. Street’s two older sons took that lease, and after researching the recovery technique known as water flooding, successfully applied the technology to the lease. Other leases were acquired which were suited to increased production from this technology which aided in the growth of the business. Graridge, the company formed by the Street brothers, sold most of its properties to American Petrofina shortly after H.B. Street’s death in 1962.
In addition to Graridge’s success at oil and gas acquisition, S&S Oil Company continued to acquire shallow properties which were also in need of water flood applications. By 1959, S&S Oil Company was operating 100 wells. Given rapid growth, Bill Street began looking for additional personnel who had technical expertise in water flood engineering. That same year, he formed Twin Mountain Oil Company to act as operator of all properties. He chose the name Twin Mountain Oil Company because he grew up in the shadows of the Twin Mountains located in Graham. He hired H.T. Hunnewell as vice president in charge of production operations. Mr. Hunnewell had been a district engineer and a specialist in secondary recovery for Magnolia Petroleum Company, then a solely owned subsidiary of The Mobil Oil Company. Concurrent to his new position, Hunnewell was awarded a one-eighth interest in Twin Mountain Oil Company. Under Mr. Street’s and Mr. Hunnewell’s direction, the company began actively buying and trading for water flood applications. After considerable success, Twin Montana, Inc. was formed in 1968 and a large portion of the properties from Twin Mountain Oil Company were spun off into the new corporation. The name Twin Montana is a Spanish version of Twin Mountain. The creation of Twin Montana, Inc. served two purposes. First, it increased Mr. Hunnewell’s ownership position from 12.5% to 25.0% and secondly, the new entity was organized as a Subchapter S Corporation in order to reduce total tax liability. Mr. Hunnewell passed away in 2010 but his guidance and expertise in the oil and gas business have help make us what we are today.
Talus, Inc. was also formed in 1968. The name Talus came from a geological term representing debri or rocks that have fallen off the side of a mountain. As a spinoff of Twin Mountain and Twin Montana, that is effectively what the company was. Bill thought this was an appropriate name because the company was to serve as a financial vehicle for W.G. and Dorothy Street’s children. Eventually, the remaining assets of Twin Mountain Oil Company and other assets personally owned by W.G. Street were merged into Talus, Inc. In 1979, Ken Haggart, then Sun Oil Corporation’s Manager of Reservoir Engineering for their Midland, Texas district was hired to manage Talus, Inc.
New energy legislation was enacted by Congress in the mid seventies to increase the country’s stockpiles of oil and gas. As a result of this legislation, Twin Montana, Inc. began aggressively drilling for gas. By 1975, it targeted the Fort Worth Basin as its most likely prospect. The Natural Gas Act of 1978 further confirmed their convictions about a shift from oil to gas. During the next nine years, it drilled and successfully completed over 120 producing gas wells in conglomerate fields in the Fort Worth Basin. At one period of time, it drilled sixteen consecutive, commercially successful wildcat wells. As the price of natural gas declined, prospects diminished to the point where by 1984, Twin Montana, Inc. had abandoned its natural gas drilling program in favor of superior economics in the exploration for oil.
In the early 1980’s, Twin Montana, Inc. and Talus, Inc. were instrumental in the formation of Buffton Corporation, a public company listed on the American Stock Exchange. In an effort to capitalize on the public appetite for oil and gas stocks, the two companies contributed oil and gas properties in exchange for common stock. As Buffton Corporation later diversified out of oil and gas, the companies exchanged a portion of their holdings in Buffton Corporation for the properties previously held. By the late 1980’s all Street companies had sold their Buffton Corporation stock.
In 1985, the companies began drilling for the Caddo and Mississippian age formations. Seismic was used to identify the possible producing areas and the companies enjoyed success for several years in finding these prolific pays. It was in July of 1985 that the historic Graham National Bank #2 was drilled. This Mississippian well blew out and burned a Wes-Mor Drilling rig down in only minutes. Very fortunately no one was injured. The wild well fighting team of Boots and Coots was called and extinguished the fire by exploding nitroglycerin over the wellhead. The well was capped and plugged. The replacement well, Graham National Bank #2A, has produced for over 20 years and has paid out the entire cost of the blowout plus both wells several times over.
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, with an unfavorable oil and gas pricing climate, larger independents and majors began to divest of their domestic properties. The companies saw the opportunity to increase their reserve base and began purchasing several leases which eventually would become the core value properties of the companies. Among these were the Conley Field in Hardeman County, several leases in Wise, Jack, and Taylor Counties, and properties in Val Verde County.