Louisiana Oil Man Saves for Leaner Times While oil giants are awash with record profits, there are oil producers at the other end of the dollar. Some mom-and-pop producers operate wells that barely suck up a barrel a day. In rural northwest Louisiana, fourth-generation oil hand Al Chiles has learned how to provide for his family, no matter what the price of crude is.
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Louisiana Oil Man Saves for Leaner Times

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Louisiana Oil Man Saves for Leaner Times

Louisiana Oil Man Saves for Leaner Times

Louisiana Oil Man Saves for Leaner Times

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While oil giants are awash with record profits, there are oil producers at the other end of the dollar. Some mom-and-pop producers operate wells that barely suck up a barrel a day.

In rural northwest Louisiana, fourth-generation oil hand Al Chiles has figured out how to provide for his family, no matter what the price of crude is.

Chiles is one of the oil men you rarely hear about. He has worked in oil fields since he was 14, digging his own wells. He still tends to them every day.

He concedes that his family is doing well now, but he won't spend a dime for fear of the day when oil dips below $10 a barrel again. He remembers the busts, so he's extraordinarily cautious. He's so frugal that his wife drives a '91 Suburban.

He has one indulgence in his life: pack mules. Ten mules graze around his oil wells, and once a year, he takes them into the Rockies for five days.

Otherwise, he works from dawn to dusk toiling in the oil field and manning his oil parts supply shop. He's proudest of his two college-educated daughters who won't follow in his footsteps.

Kate Archer Kent reports from Red River Radio.