In Oklahoma you had people called "land men". They went around the country side and bought up "rights" to drill...the farmer could own the surface, the land man bought what was underneath. Simply if you had any land whatsoever near a formation that spurted oil you generally got a huge deal out of it..particularly if you had a lot of it. I think it was in that frame of mind that the Gulf disaster was born...and just waited to happen.
Let's be clear. Oil fields are not sterile operating rooms. They are grossly contaminated areas where all manner of chemicals needed in drilling and cleaning up wells, drilling equipment, finishing equipment, etc. are or were just put in barrels and dumped. There are farms and I've seen them, with capped wells that look like stove pipes every 50 yards in all directions coming out of earth that 80 years later won't grow grass. Oil people learned to prospect, get the rights, drill and produce or drill and cap and move on. They are the "liquid coal miners" of the west.
Capping a well is all expense and no profit. You can't make a dime after you cap so it was done fast and inexpensively with very little thought about aesthetics. The big deal is the drilling...where all the money is spent...and if the damn well became a gyser..well so much the better...oil shooting out of the ground and a few thousand barrels hitting the ground..well son that's a cost of business..lost oil.
Do you think for a second that when BP scoops up the oil from the Gulf spill that it doesn't try and see if there is some way to make a buck from it?