Black Gold Fever

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The high price of oil is generating new interest in the Railroad Valley in Eastern Nevada.

The Valley, 60 miles Southeast of Ely, has produced more than five million barrels of oil in recent years.

But reserves have also been declining until now.

For years the Railroad Valley has been pumping meager amounts of oil from shallow depths ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 feet, but that is about to change. There is a new gold boom taking place in this valley. Growth has been limited by economics. The cost of pumping new wells was more than the oil was worth, but now with oil hovering around $70 a barrel the rules have changed.

A recent Geological Survey indicates that Nevada may be sitting on an oil reserve of 1.6 billion barrels.

And finding the oil is one thing, getting it out of the ground is another. A drilling rig is designed for the mining industry, but it has been pressed into service here in the valley to find untapped oil, it's shut down right now because of complications under the ground.

Still, the market is so lucrative minor glitches like this are tolerated. Oil speculators need only to hit a pocket to see huge returns on their investments.