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February 17, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 2


Oil & Gas History News


This month’s history articles include interesting and sometimes overlooked milestones, few more so than William F. Cody’s unlucky adventures drilling for oil near the town named after him. There’s also a 1931 third discovery well that revealed the true size of the East Texas oilfield that deserves remembering. Thank you for joining the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s growing community of oil patch historians.


This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update


Links to summaries from four weeks of U.S. oil and natural gas history, including new technologies, oilfield discoveries, petroleum products, and pioneers. 


February 15, 1982 – Deadly Atlantic Storm sinks Drilling Platform


With rogue waves reaching as high as 65 feet during an Atlantic cyclone, offshore drilling platform Ocean Ranger sank on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada, killing all 84 on board. About 65 miles east, a Soviet container ship was struck by the same weather system and sank the loss of 32 crew members…MORE


February 9, 2013 – Making Hole on the Red Planet


Images transmitted from NASA’s robotic rover Curiosity confirm it drilled a well on the Martian surface, accomplishing “history’s first ever drilling and sampling into a pristine alien rock on the surface of another planet in our solar system”…MORE


February 1, 1868 – Oil Quality weighed for Pricing


For the first time, crude oil price quotations began to be based on specific gravity — the heaviness of a substance compared to that of water. In the new oil regions of Pennsylvania, independent producers met to sell shares of stock, argue prices, and enter into refining contracts that depended on the oil’s quality…MORE

January 26, 1931 – Third Well reveals East Texas Giant


As East Texas farmers struggled to survive the Great Depression, an oil discovery in Gregg County confirmed the existence of a truly massive oilfield. Fort Worth wildcatter W.A. “Monty” Moncrief completed the Lathrop No. 1 well, which produced 7,680 barrels of oil a day…MORE


Featured Image


W.F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (4th from right) and investors examine petroleum samples at an oilfield on the Shoshone Anticline near Cody, Wyoming. Photo courtesy the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.


Wild West Showman explored for Oil


William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s legacy extends beyond his world-famous Wild West Show — straight into the Wyoming oil patch. Cody, who in 1896 founded the town that bears his name, organized an exploration company in 1902. The former Army scout and buffalo hunter drilled a dry hole two miles south of Cody. Money ran out when a second well failed to find oil, but he tried again after starting another venture, the Shoshone Oil Company


Energy Education Articles


Updated editorial content on the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website includes these articles:


Alabama’s first oilfield was discovered on February 17, 1944, in Choctaw County when independent producer H.L. Hunt of Dallas, Texas, drilled the No. 1 Jackson well. Hunt’s wildcat well revealed the Gilbertown oilfield. Prior to this discovery, 350 dry holes had been drilled in the state. Learn more in First Alabama Oil Well.

“El Lobo Solo” Texas Ranger Manuel T. Gonzaullas died February 13, 1977, at age 85 in Dallas. When oil boom town Kilgore became “the most lawless town in Texas” during the early 1930s, Gonzaullas rode in and tamed it. “Crime may expect no quarter in Kilgore,” he declared. Learn more in Manuel “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger.


On February 10, 1917, about 90 geologists gathered at Henry Kendall College (now Tulsa University) and organized what became today’s American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). New mechanized technologies of World War I added desperation to finding and producing vast supplies of oil. Learn more in AAPG – Geology Pros since 1917.



Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. If you would like to see more articles like these, become a supporting member. If everyone who visits our website helps fund it, we can further expand and improve our coverage. Thank you again for your interest in energy history — and please link your blog, Facebook page, or website to ours!


— Bruce Wells


“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.” — Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize


© 2021 American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States

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