October 20, 2021 – Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 10
Oil & Gas History News
This month’s newsletter features historic oilfield discoveries in Arizona (1954), Louisiana (1901), Wyoming (1908), and Florida (1943). A Texas oilfield discovered in 1917 helped fuel the Allied victory in World War I. Another October petroleum history milestone is the Blue Flame, an LNG-fueled rocket car that set the world land speed record in 1970. Thank you for subscribing!
This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update
Links to summaries from five weeks of U.S. oil and natural gas history, including new technologies, oilfield discoveries, petroleum products, and pioneers.
October 18, 2008 – Derrick dedicated in Discovery 1 Park
The re-enactment of the dramatic moment that changed Oklahoma history highlighted a 2008 dedication of a new cable-tool derrick at Discovery 1 Park in Bartlesville. Events celebrating the Nellie Johnstone No. 1 well of 1897 included volunteer roughnecks and a water gusher from the 82-foot derrick that replaced one dedicated in 1948…MORE
October 13, 1954 – First Arizona Gas Well
Arizona became the 30th petroleum producing state when Shell Oil Company completed a natural gas well one mile south of the Utah border on Apache County’s Navajo Indian Reservation. The East Boundary Butte No. 2 well showed natural gas production of about 3 million cubic feet per day from depths between 4,540 feet to 4,690 feet, but just a few barrels of oil…MORE
October 4, 1866 – Oil Fever spreads to Allegheny River Valley
Just 15 miles east of Edwin L. Drake’s first U.S. oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, an oilfield discovery at Triumph Hill sparked a wild rush of speculators and new drilling. America’s petroleum industry was barely seven years old when cable-tool derricks and engine houses replaced hemlock trees along the Allegheny River…MORE
September 27, 1915 – Deadly Explosion in Ardmore, Oklahoma
A railroad car carrying casinghead gasoline exploded in Ardmore, Oklahoma, killing 43 people and injuring others. The car, which had arrived the day before, was waiting to be taken to a nearby refinery. Casinghead gasoline (also called natural gasoline) at the time was integral to the state’s petroleum development…MORE
September 21, 1901 – First Louisiana Oil Well
Just nine months after the January 1901 “Lucas Gusher” in Texas, another historic oilfield was revealed 90 miles east in Louisiana. W. Scott Heywood — already successful thanks to wells drilled at Spindletop Hill — completed a well that produced 7,000 barrels of oil a day on the Jules Clements farm…MORE
Sponsored by the American Gas Association and powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the Blue Flame set a world land speed record of 630.388 mph on October 23, 1970. The rocket car’s record would remain unbroken for more than a decade.
Learn more in Blue Flame Natural Gas Rocket Car.
Salt Creek Well brings Wyoming Boom
Wyoming’s first oil boom began October 23, 1908, when the Dutch-owned Petroleum Maatschappij Salt Creek completed the “Big Dutch” well — a gusher about 40 miles north of Casper. The Salt Creek area’s oil potential had been known since the 1880s, but a central salt dome received little attention until Italian geologist Cesare Porro recommended drilling there in 1906.
Learn more in First Wyoming Oil Wells.
“Roaring Ranger” erupts in Texas
An October 17, 1917, wildcat well between Abilene and Dallas launched a Texas drilling boom that helped fuel the Allied victory in World War I. The McCleskey No. 1 well erupted oil south of the small town of Ranger, which had been founded in the 1870s near a Texas Ranger camp.
Learn more in Roaring Ranger wins WWI.
Converted Offshore Platform launches Rockets
Sea Launch, a Boeing-led consortium of companies from the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Norway, began commercial launches on October 9, 1999, using a modified semi-submersible drilling platform. The Ocean Odyssey launched a Russian rocket carrying a U.S. satellite. In 1988, the rig had been used by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) for North Sea explorations.
Learn more in Offshore Rocket Launcher.
First Florida Oil Well
Humble Oil Company completed Florida’s first commercial oil well, the Sunniland No. 1, on September 26, 1943. The company had spent $1 million drilling to a depth of about 11,600 feet to complete the discovery well, located 12 miles south of Immokalee, near Big Cypress Preserve and the resort city of Naples.
The California Oil Museum has temporarily closed its doors at the former Union Oil Company headquarters as ideas are considered for “re-energizing” the Santa Paula museum, which opened in 1950. Union Oil moved its headquarters to Los Angeles in 1901. The museum’s 1890 building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
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— Bruce Wells
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