Oil and Politics Mix
Landon was dismissed from politics just in time to watch an accelerating slump in oil prices; indeed, the price of petroleum had been declining since 1926, when a barrel of crude oil commanded as much as $2.31. A series of discoveries of oil fields and the onset of the depression had forced prices as low as a dollar a barrel by the summer of 1930. In October, less than a month after Landon lost the state chairmanship, the greatest production area in the industry's history, east Texas, was discovered; and prices dipped again, more disastrously than ever. The inability or unwillingness of the east Texas producers to control their output led to increased production--as everything else in the national economy was going down. In panic, operators in other areas removed self-imposed limits on their production, thereby unpropping the price structure of the petroleum market. In late 1930, Mid-Continent crude oil prices were down to 18 cents a barrel and east Texas prices were down to 10 cents a barrel--evidence that one state--California, Oklahoma, or Texas--could supply the nation's demand for oil. The oil industry seemed to be drowning in its surplus.1
Landon was in no immediate danger of going bankrupt, but he was____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Landon of Kansas. Contributors: Donald R. McCoy - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1966. Page number: 67.
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