November 19, 1861 – American exports Oil for First Time
America exports petroleum for the first time when the Elizabeth Watts departs Philadelphia’s docks bound for London with a cargo of 901 barrels of Pennsylvania oil and 428 barrels of refined kerosene.
The shippers are the highly successful Philadelphia import-export firm of Peter Wright & Sons, which since its founding in 1818 has prospered transporting “china, glass, and Queensware” among other commodities.
The company hires the Elizabeth Watts and her captain, Charles Bryant, to ship the petroleum to three British companies: G. Crowshaw & Company, Coates & Company, and Herzog & Company.
Forty-five days later, on January 9, 1862, the U.S. brig sails down the Thames River to arrive at London’s Victoria Dock. It will take 12 days to unload the 1,329 barrels. Philadelphia exports 239,000 barrels the next year. In 1948, with the post-World War II economy booming, America for the first time becomes a net importer of oil.
Editor’s Note – U.S. dependence on imported oil has declined since peaking in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration - “How Dependent are We on Foreign Oil?” Read the rest of this entry »