Oil and Natural Gas History, Education Resources, Museum News, Exhibits and Events

 

Ever since America’s earliest oil discoveries, dynamite or nitroglycerin detonations increased a well’s production. Hydraulic fracturing came in the 1949. 

hydraulic fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing has been used to increase production on millions of oil and natural gas wells since 1949.

Modern hydraulic fracturing technologies can trace their roots to April 25, 1865, when Civil War veteran Col. Edward A. L. Roberts received the first of his many patents for an “exploding torpedo.”

In May 1990, Pennsylvania’s Otto Cupler Torpedo Company “shot” its last oil well using liquid nitroglycerin – abandoning nitro but continuing to pursue a fundamental oil field technology.

Although President Rick Tallini remains in the business of improving oil wells’ production, today’s fracturing systems are much advanced from Lt. Col. Edward A. L. Roberts’ original 1865-1866 patents.

hydraulic fracturing

When Col. E.A.L. Roberts founds his company in 1865, his many patents give him a monopoly on torpedoes needed by the oil industry. The stock certificate – with oilfield vignettes – is worth about $300 to collectors.

“Our business since Colonel Roberts’ day has concerned lowering high explosives charges into oil wells in the Appalachian area to blast fractures into the oil bearing sand,” says Tallini. His company is based in Titusville – where the American petroleum industry began on August 27, 1859. Read the rest of this entry »

 

February 1, 1868 – Oil Prices Weighed for First Time

In a practice that continues to this day, oil price quotations are based on specific gravity – the heaviness of a substance compared to that of water – in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

In the new oil regions, independent producers frequently meet to discuss business, sell shares of stock, argue prices, and enter into refining contracts that depended on the crude oil’s quality.

Before the Titusville Oil Exchange is established in 1871, producers would gather in convenient establishments, such as Titusville’s American Hotel or along Centre Street in Oil City – known as the “Curbside Exchange.” Read more End of Oil Exchanges.

American Petroleum Institute gravity, or API gravity, was adopted in 1921 and became the worldwide standard. Crude oil is classified as light, medium or heavy, according to its measured API gravity.

February 2, 1923 – First Anti-Knock Gas goes on Sale Read the rest of this entry »