The West Texas Rancher Exposing Big Oil’s Buried Secrets

The West Texas Rancher Exposing Big Oil’s Buried Secrets

Wet weather had sprouted unusually green vegetation throughout Antina Ranch that spring. Wedged between the sky above and the sandy-brown soil below, the verdant plant life gave the landscape the look of a three-layer cake. An unseen fourth layer sat underground—home to the aquifers containing the ranch’s water, as well as the deposits of oil being pumped by the wells Ash Stoker had been hired by a small Midland company to inspect that June day in 2021.As he drove along the caliche road, the 38-year-old oil-lease operator unexpectedly encountered a glare of bright West Texas sun reflecting up from a newly formed pool of water amid a clump of sickly mesquites. He parked his truck, got out to take a closer look, and began recording…

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Source: Texas Monthly

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