The 3rd Annual El Dorado Historic District Community Forum — Go With the Flow – Pipelines Working For You — presented by El Dorado Main Street April 17 proved to be a popular topic for the standing-room only event.

The 3rd Annual El Dorado Historic District Community Forum — Go With the Flow – Pipelines Working For You — presented by El Dorado Main Street April 17 proved to be a popular topic for the standing-room only event.

Pipelines have crisscrossed Butler County for almost a century and continue to serve the nation since oil was discoverd here. Almost three million miles of pipeline in the United States effi ciently move crude oil and refi ned products to distribution terminals all over the country.

Consumer demand and economic growth continue to require effi cient delivery of fuel and a diverse number of petroleum products.

Usually buried and invisible to the public, pipelines are managed with intense supervisory controls. Technological advances keep pipelines running at nearly maximum capacity. Stringent regulations and enhanced data and observation increase safety and reduce the chance of leaks and accidents. Pipelines operate around the clock and under all weather conditions. Pipelines are the cheapest, safest mode of transporting large quantities of fl uid.

To live in El Dorado means living in an energy city. Evidence of our energy past, present and future surrounds us. Boom times created many of our historic architectural assets. A case in point, the EmpireSuites Building at 116 W Pine, where Main Street’s office is located, housed the powerful Empire Gas and Fuel Company organized by City Service to oversee and manage the historically massive El Dorado Oil Fields.

Empire Gas and Fuel managed massive logistics of trainloads of supplies, erection of wood and steel barracks, water and fuel requirements. Machine shops, horse barns, truck repair garages, steam plants, fi eld offi ces, railroad spurs, refineries, pipelines, dining halls and homes for workers were required.

By the end of 1916 there were 600 producing wells in El Dorado. By the end of 1917 the number had risen to over 1,000 wells. The El Dorado Field became the single leading oil fi eld in the United States.

In 1918 when the United States’ involvement in WWI was at its greatest, the El Dorado Field produced over 29,000,000 barrels of oil. We all have heard that El Dorado “floated the country to victory on a sea of oil.” With the use of secondary recovery technology, the El Dorado Field continued to make a substantial contribution to WWII eff orts in 1943.

The future of El Dorado will be built on the ever-evolving energy industry. The recent public forum was a way to better understand pipelines—how they serve and operate. The information exchanged helped show the complex relationships between energy, economy, culture and the environment.

A special thanks to: Forum panel participants— Phillips 66 Pipeline, Magellan Pipeline, NuStar Pipeline, CHS and Holly Energy Partners, panel moderator Leon Leachman, and Kevin Burk for offering the use of the conference room in the historic Elks building on East Pine Avenue. In addition, credit and thanks to Ardath Lawson of the Kansas Oil Museum and Butler Historical Society for help with information about El Dorado’s energy past.