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THE heroics of Governor Murray in calling out the troops to close
the oil wells of Oklahoma until such time as purchasers would pay
one dollar a barrel has dramatized the acute problem of low
prices and overproduction which has haunted the petroleum industry
in the past few years. The competitive exploitation of oil
lands has resulted not only in dissipating huge quantities of both
oil and gas through the wasteful rush to market but also in diminishing
profits through the production of oil and gas in excess of
current demands. It has become imperative that the financial
losses of overproduction be checked and that the prodigal physical
wastes be eliminated. Until recently, however, in none of the
extractive industries has there been any but petty attempts to
eliminate such waste, although the conservation of our natural
resources has been for decades a campaign cry of a progressive
minority. Now conservation, seen as a means of solving this
problem of wasteful overproduction, has become endowed with
respectability.' But if overproduction has thus given an impetus
to the conservation movement, in turn it is to conservation that
the petroleum industry now looks for a legal basis for the
rationalization of production.

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petroleum, overproduction