The first commercial production of oil in Texas occurred in Corsicana, TX and in a few years it was producing 1,000 barrels per day.
In 1899, after seven years of trying unsuccessfully to find backers for a well on Spindletop Hill, U. T. geology professor William Battle Phillips, helped provide the means for substantial investment and qualified personnel to direct the work.
And on January 10, 1901 the discovery of oil at Spindletop ushered in drilling along the Texas Gulf Coast and marked the birth of the modern oil industry, including Gulf Oil. Flowing at a rate of 100,000 barrels a day, Spindletop was the first well to prove conclusively that the earth contained vast quantities of oil which could be successfully harvested. In 1901 the Legislature authorized the U. T. Board of Regents to "sell, lease and otherwise control" the mineral interests in the PUF lands, including exploration and development of the lands. The legislature also approved funding for The University of Texas Mineral Survey to "provide for a mineral survey of the lands belonging to the public schools, University and asylum lands of the state." Dr. William Battle Phillips, based on his Spindletop success, was promoted to professor of geology and appointed director of the Survey.