A Chronology of U.S. Oil & Gas

This Week in Petroleum History

This Week in Petroleum History, January 27 to February 2

On January 28, 1969, after drilling 3,500 below the Pacific Ocean floor, a Union Oil Company drilling platform six miles off Santa Barbara, California, suffered a blowout. The offshore accident spilled up to 100,000 barrels of oil that reached southern California’s beaches, where the U.S. offshore petroleum history began in 1896 with wells drilled from piers.

This Week in Petroleum History, January 20 to January 26

In 1886, the spectacular natural gas well – the “Great Karg Well” of Findlay, Ohio – erupted with an initial flow of 12 million cubic feet a day. The well’s gas pressure was so great that it could not be controlled by the technology of the day.

This Week in Petroleum History, January 13 to January 19

In 1954, a Shell Oil Company wildcat well in Harding County, South Dakota, began producing oil from about 9,300 feet deep, revealing South Dakota’s first oilfield. This single well drilled in what proved to be the Buffalo field produced more than 341,000 barrels of oil for the next five decades.

This Week in Petroleum History, January 6 to January 12

On January 7, 1905, C.E. Barrett discovered the Humble oilfield in Harris County, Texas, with his Beatty No. 2 well, which brought another Texas oil boom four years after the “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop Hill. The Beatty well produced 8,500 barrels of oil per day from a depth of 1,012 feet.

This Week in Petroleum History, December 30 to January 6

December 31, 1954 – Dry Hole sets California Drilling Depth Record. Petroleum Engineer magazine noted the well set a depth record, despite being “halted by a fishing job” and ending up as a dry hole. More than 630 exploratory wells were drilled in California during 1954.

This Week in Petroleum History, December 23 to December 29

World-famous journalist Nellie Bly manufactured a 55-gallon metal barrel in the 1900s. The 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y., promoted her Iron Clad Manufacturing Company as “owned exclusively by Nellie Bly – the only woman in the world personally managing industries of such magnitude.”

This Week in Petroleum History, December 9 to December 15

December 9, 1921 – GM Scientists discover Anti-Knock Properties of Leaded Gas Leaded gas was good for engines, bad for people. GM researchers Thomas Midgely Jr. and Charles Kettering discovered the antiknock properties of tetraethyl lead. They had spent years...

This Week in Petroleum History, December 2 to December 8

On December 2, 2011, Enron, once the world’s largest energy-trading company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, beginning one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history. The Houston-based company had reached a market value of almost $70 billion…

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