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

 

Building a community oil museum is not for the faint of heart.

“Money and volunteers, volunteers and money,” are the biggest challenges, according to John Larrabee, board president for the Illinois Oil Field Museum and Resource Center on the outskirts of his hometown of Oblong, Illinois.

The Illinois Oil Field Museum is located in Oblong, Illinois, on Highway 33, southeast of Effingham. First opened in 1961, the community museum moved into a new building in 2001 and today continues to add new exhibits.

“The first thing you have to have is a goal and the determination to keep at it, no matter what. Don’t give up, whatever happens,” Larrabee explained in a 2004 interview with historical society Contributing Editor Kris Wells.

It helps to know something about the oil business, said the third generation Illinois Basin oilman. “The museum began way back in 1961 with a fellow named Enos Bloom, Larrabee noted. “In those days, the city of Oblong provided and maintained a building that housed donated artifacts.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

 The Uinta Basin witnessed its first drilling boom following a 1948 oil discovery oil at 4,152 feet deep. The boom continue today - thanks to giant reserves of coalbed methane gas. Photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

The Uinta Basin witnessed Utah’s first drilling boom following a 1948 oil discovery. A modern boom would return  thanks to coalbed methane gas. Photo courtesy Utah State Historical Society.

After decades of expensive failed exploration attempts, the first Utah oil well finally was competed on September 18, 1948, in the Uinta Basin.

“The honor of bringing in the state’s first commercial oil well went not to the “Majors” but to an “Independent” – the Equity Oil Company,” notes Osmond Harline in a summer 1963 article in Utah Historical Quarterly.

The Ashley Valley No. 1, about 10 miles southeast of Vernal, Utah, produced about 300 barrels a day from 4,152 feet, Harline explains. “It is interesting to note that J.L. (Mike) Dougan, president and general manager of Equity Oil Company and a Salt Lake City resident, had been drilling for oil in Utah for over 25 years.”

Dougan beat out larger and better financed competitors, including  Standard Oil of California, Pure Oil, Continental and Union Oil. The Utah discovery launched a deep-drilling boom. Unlike the earlier attempts, Dougan had drilled beyond the basin’s typical depth of 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Midfields-Oil-Stock-Colorado-AOGHSIn 1918, a number prominent citizens of Yuma and Wray counties in Colorado got together to form the Midfields Oil Company, capitalized at $100,000 with H. F. Strangways as president.

The local newspaper, the Wray Rattler, followed the company’s progress and published advertisements. Stock was offered at $10 per share.

“The control of the company is in the hands of honest, capable, well known business men of Yuma County, and is in every way a home institution,” proclaimed one ad.

Although oil was the objective (natural gas pipeline infrastructure being nonexistent), Midfields Oil’s first drilling attempt 16 miles south of Wray produced “a showing” of gas in the “Black-Wolf Basin” and was abandoned.

A second well in 1919 proved to be the discovery well for the Beecher Island natural gas field in the Niobrara shale formation, which remains active today. Read the rest of this entry »