Oil & Gas History News, July 2021

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July 21, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 7

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

Welcome to the July newsletter — and a special thank you to our new subscribers! This month’s issue offers many summertime milestones in petroleum history, including the discovery of a major oilfield at Cook Inlet Basin, Alaska, in 1959, and the first “natural gas Jubilee” of Paola, Kansas, in 1887. Also featured is Armais Arutunoff, inventor of a revolutionary oilfield technology. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.

 

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.

 

July 19, 1957 – Major Oil Discovery in Alaska Territory


Although some oil production had occurred earlier in the territory, Alaska’s first commercial oilfield was discovered by Richfield Oil, which completed the Swanson River Unit No. 1 in Cook Inlet Basin. The well yielded 900 barrels of oil per day from a depth of 11,215 feet. Alaska’s first governor, William Egan, would proclaim the discovery provided “the economic justification for statehood for Alaska.”…MORE

 

July 12, 1934 – Emory Clark launches “Clark Super 100” Stations

 

Two years after paying $14 for a closed, one-pump gas station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Emory Clark incorporated what would become the Clark Oil & Refining Corporation. Eliminating common services like maintenance, engine repair, and tire changing, he set out to create a network of stations that focused on selling premium gasoline only, “Super 100 Premium.”…MORE

 

July 5, 1900 – Edison films Standard Oil Refinery Fire

 

An early morning lightning strike at the Standard Oil Company refinery at Bayonne, New Jersey, set off explosions in three storage tanks. “Within minutes after the fire began, the company siren sounded, bringing its own fire department and tugboats into action,” the Jersey Journal reported. Efforts to fight the blaze were featured in one of the earliest newsreels of the Thomas A. Edison Company…MORE

 

June 28, 1887 – Kansans celebrate First Natural Gas Jubilee

 

After erecting flambeau arches at the four corners of the town square, citizens of Paola, Kansas, hosted what local leaders described as “the first natural gas celebration ever held in the West.” Excursion trains from nearby Kansas City and elsewhere brought almost 2,000 people, “to witness the wonders of natural gas.”…MORE

 

June 21, 1893 – Submersible Pump Inventor born

 

Armais Arutunoff was born to Armenian parents in Tiflis, Russia. In 1916, he developed the first electrical centrifugal submersible pump, but after emigrating to America in 1923, Arutunoff could not find financial support for his down-hole production technology. Thanks to help from his friend Frank Phillips of Phillips Petroleum, in 1928 Arutunoff moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and established the oilfield service company that would become REDA…MORE

 

Energy Education


The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported the United States continued to lead the world in petroleum production in 2020 as coal production fell to its lowest level since 1965. Despite volatility in oil markets, the nation’s crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic reducing global energy use, non-fossil fuel sources accounted for 21 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

Mural-Jackson-Tulsa-AOGHS

After welcoming visitors to the Smithsonian’s Hall of Petroleum in the summer of 1967, the 13-foot by 56-foot “Panorama of Petroleum” by Oklahoma artist Delbert Jackson was almost forgotten. The city of Tulsa recovered the mural and in 1998 restored and installed it at the Tulsa International Airport, where Jackson’s oilfield panorama can be seen today. 

 

Remembering the Smithsonian’s 1967 Hall of Petroleum

 

With a collection of more than three million artifacts, the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., includes surprisingly few related to exploration and production history. It wasn’t always so. In the summer of 1967, an entire wing, the Hall of Petroleum, opened in the museum. Exhibits gave the public, “some conception of the involved nature of the processes of finding and producing oil and its preparation for consumption – whether by automobiles, airplanes, power stations, household furnaces, or the petrochemical industry,” noted the catalog. Learn more in Smithsonian’s Hall of Petroleum.

 

Oil & Gas Museums

 

Depression era rural life of East Texas changed drastically with the discovery of oil in 1930, and the East Texas Oil Museum at Kilgore College houses an authentic recreation of the giant oilfield’s history. Digitized movies now play inside the museum’s Boom Town Theater, refurnished as part of a two-year museum renovation project.

 

The Museum of North Texas History in downtown Wichita Falls features everything from airplanes, autos, and military memorabilia. Exhibits about the petroleum industry — a major part of life in North Texas since a 1911 discovery at Electra — include rare photos from the boom days, drill bits, and other equipment.

 

In Taft, California, the West Kern County Museum, run entirely by volunteers, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting artifacts, books, and equipment that tell the story of West Kern County. The museum educates visitors about the Midway Sunset field, which by 1915 produced half the state’s oil, helping California lead the nation in production.

 

After a pandemic-cancelled symposium in 2020, a group of oil and natural gas geologists and historians will be gathering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this fall. You are invited to attend the next Annual Symposium and Field Trip of the Petroleum History Institute, September 28 to October 1, 2021.

 

The American Oil & Gas Historical Society depends on financial help from subscribers who become supporting members of AOGHS. Please share this newsletter to increase our outreach among friends at community museums — and visit an oil museum this summer!

 

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

Oil & Gas History News, June 2021

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June 16, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 6

Oil & Gas History News

As a long-awaited summer arrives, community museums can look forward to to welcoming tourists and other visitors. Thanks to our subscribers and supporting members, the American Oil & Gas Historical Society has built a network of these dedicated energy educators. There is museum news among our June newsletter’s stories. These stories include early oilfield publications, technology milestones, and an 1894 unexpected oil discovery in Corsicana, Texas.

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.

June 14, 1865 – First Edition of Pennsylvania Oil Region Newspaper

The hometown of the first American oil well got its first newspaper when brothers William and Henry Bloss published a four-page broadsheet, the Titusville Morning Herald. Initial circulation was 300 for the new daily, which is still published today. The first edition’s articles included a brief reference to the oil interests of John Wilkes Booth, who visited the region in 1864…MORE

June 9, 1894 – Water Well finds Oil in Corsicana 

A contractor hired by the town of Corsicana to drill a water well found oil instead, launching the Texas petroleum industry seven years before the more famous discovery at Spindletop Hill. Despite the discovery bringing petroleum riches to Corsicana, the city paid the contractor only half of his $1,000 fee; the agreement had been for completing a water well…MORE

June 1, 1860 – First Book about Oil published

Less than 10 months after Edwin L. Drake completed the first commercial oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, Thomas A. Gale published an 80-page pamphlet many regard as the first book about America’s petroleum resources. The Wonder of the Nineteenth Century: Rock Oil in Pennsylvania and Elsewhere described the advantages of the new fuel source for kerosene lamps…MORE

May 24, 1902 – Earliest Oil & Gas Journal published

Holland Reavis founded the Oil Investors’ Journal in Beaumont, Texas, with articles focusing on financial issues in the giant oilfield discovered a year before at Spindletop Hill. In 1910, Patrick Boyle acquired the publication, changed it to a weekly, and expanded coverage to become the Oil & Gas Journal…MORE

Energy Education

Mr-Charlie-Murphy-Oil-AOGHS

In 1954, a revolutionary offshore oil drilling platform went to work for Shell Oil Company in the East Bay oilfield, near the mouth of the Mississippi River. When Mr. Charlie left its New Orleans shipyard on June 15, it became the world’s first mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). Photo courtesy Murphy Oil Corporation.

First Mobile Offshore Drilling Rig

Capable of drilling wells in water up to 40 feet deep, Mr. Charlie’s mobile design originated with Alden “Doc” LaBorde, a World War II Navy veteran and Kerr-McGee Company marine superintendent. In 1954, Murphy Oil adopted his design as an alternative to permanent, pile-supported drilling platforms tendered by utility boats. Recognized as a historical mechanical engineering landmark in 2012, Mr. Charlie today operates as the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition in Morgan City. Learn more in Mr. Charlie, First Mobile Offshore Drilling Rig.

Oil & Gas Museums

In addition to the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition — and the popular Galveston, Texas-based Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum — oil and gas museums are reopening across the country.

If you are looking for a unique venue to host upcoming  events or meetings, check with your local museum! Beyond its outstanding Permian Basin exhibits, the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas, offers unique indoor and outdoor spaces for any kind of gathering.

The Penn Brad Oil Museum in northwestern Pennsylvania’s scenic McKean County, “preserves the philosophy and spirit of a historic oil community” and the world’s first billion dollar oilfield. By 1881, oil from the region’s Devonian Bradford Sands accounted for 83 percent of all U.S. production.

Oilfield exhibits can be seen at a museum in Columbia, Texas, the capital of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1837. Now known as West Columbia, this community southwest of Houston is home to the Columbia Historical Museum, which opened in 1990. Brazoria County’s many historic oilfield discoveries include the West Columbia field, revealed in 1917 by former Texas Gov. James Hogg.

Finally, after a summer of educational visits to museums, consider joining the American Oil & Gas Historical Society in attending the fall 2021 Annual Symposium and Field Trip of the Petroleum History Institute, September 28 to October 1, in Pittsburgh.

Help AOGHS continue its preservation advocacy work on behalf of community oil and gas museums. Share this monthly newsletter and our latest outreach efforts. Among many projects, the historical society is supporting a 2021 effort  by the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition in receiving National Historic Landmark designation for Mr. Charlie.

— Bruce Wells

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996
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“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

Oil & Gas History News, May 2021

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May 19, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 5

Oil & Gas History News

Welcome to our May summary of U.S. energy milestones that have led to today’s energy industry. This month includes more oil and gas museum news, the story of an 1882 “mystery well” in Pennsylvania, and two noteworthy patents for oilfield-related technologies. As always, your comments are welcomed — and a special thank you to our new subscribers and the many readers who share this newsletter.

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. 

May 17, 1882 – Mystery Well shocks Pennsylvania Oil Prices

With the U.S. petroleum industry less than 25 years old, a “Mystery Well” at Cherry Creek, Pennsylvania, flowed at 1,000 barrels of oil a day. Once a closely guarded secret, news of the prolific discovery sent shock waves through early oil trading markets. Certificates for more than 4.5 million barrels of oil were sold in one day at oil exchanges in Titusville, Oil City and Bradford…MORE

May 12, 2007 – Oil and Gas Museums open in Oklahoma

As part of the Oklahoma statehood centennial celebration, ConocoPhillips Corp. opened the Conoco Museum in Ponca City and the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum in Bartlesville. Conoco began in 1875 as the Continental Oil and Transportation Company, using horse-drawn wagons to deliver kerosene in Ogden, Utah. Brothers Frank and L.E. Phillips in 1917 consolidated their successful exploration companies to form Phillips Petroleum Company, which merged with Conoco in 2002…MORE

May 3, 1870 – Lantern with Two Spouts patented

Jonathan Dillen of Petroleum Centre, Pennsylvania, received a U.S. patent for his “safety derrick lamp,” a two-wicked lantern popularly known as the “Yellow Dog” in early oilfields. Dillen created his lamp, “for illuminating places out of doors, especially in and about derricks, and machinery in the oil regions, whereby explosions are more dangerous and destructive to life and property than in most other places…MORE

April 26, 1947 – Oil Industry promoted on Radio

For the first time since its establishment in 1919, the American Petroleum Institute (API) launched a national advertising campaign. “The theme of the drive is that the petroleum industry is a modern and progressive one, and is now turning out the best products in its history,” noted Billboard. “Radio this week struck real pay dirt as a ‘Gusher’ will come mainly from expansion of current air time…MORE

Energy Education

George Failing Drilling Truck AOGHS

On May 19, 1942, George E. Failing received a U.S. patent for a portable drilling rig he had invented a decade earlier using his Ford farm truck and an assembly to transfer power from the engine to the drill. Failing would receive more than 300 patents for oilfield tools. Photo courtesy GEFCO.

Technology Pioneers save Conroe Oilfield

When a catastrophic fire threatened the entire production of a Texas oilfield in early 1933, George E. Failing of Enid, Oklahoma, and H. John Eastman of Long Beach, California, applied new technologies to end the crisis. A well in the Conroe field had roared into flames, cratered, and swallowed two nearby rigs before Failing arrived with his portable rig to drill relief wells. H. John Eastman, known today as the father of directional drilling, later would apply recently perfected surveying instruments that allowed “the bit burrowing into the ground at strange angles,” according to Popular Science. Learn more in Technology and the “Conroe Crater.”

Oil & Gas Museums

In southwestern Kansas, the Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum in Hugoton  began welcoming visitors on May 16, 1961. Volunteer docents explained the history of what was then the largest natural gas field in the world. Covering more than 14 counties in Kansas, the Hugoton field extends 8,500 square miles into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. It remains the world’s greatest source of helium. Learn more in Hugoton Natural Gas Museum.

All oil patch historians are encouraged to visit community oil and gas museums this summer. Many have begun reopening in PennsylvaniaOklahomaTexasCalifornia, and other states.

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

As the historical society adds more teacher and student subscribers, an encouraging number of supporting members are active or retired petroleum engineers, geologists, and other industry professionals. Their financial support, comments, and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks again to all AOGHS members for helping to preserve petroleum history.

— Bruce Wells

Oil & Gas History New, April 2021

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April 21, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 4

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

Welcome to our April newsletter featuring inventors and exploration pioneers, including a prospector who discovered the Los Angeles oilfield in 1892 near present-day Dodgers Stadium. Pennsylvania’s extensive petroleum heritage also is noted, along with how Texaco got its start, and news from community oil and gas museums — frontline energy educators.

 

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. 

 

April 19, 1892 – First U.S. Gasoline Powered Auto

 

Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea test drove the gasoline powered automobile they had built in their Springfield, Massachusetts, workshop. Considered the first car model to be regularly manufactured for sale in the United States, 12 were produced by the Duryea Motor Wagon Company…MORE

 

April 13, 1974 – Depth Record set in Oklahoma

 

After drilling for 504 days and costing $7 million, the Bertha Rogers No. 1 well reached a total depth of about 5.95 miles before being stopped by liquid sulfur. Drilled in the heart of Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin, it was the world’s deepest well…MORE

 

April 5, 1860 – Early Success for New Oil Industry

 

After drilling more than twice as deep as the first commercial U.S. oil well, the Phillips, Frew & Company found another Pennsylvania oil-producing sand formation at a depth of 197 feet. The new exploration company discovered the oilfield along the Allegheny River at Oil City…MORE

 

March 29, 1819 – Birthday of Father of American Petroleum Industry

 

Edwin Laurentine Drake was born in Greenville, New York. Forty years later, he would use a steam-powered cable-tool rig to drill America’s first oil well at Titusville, Pennsylvania. The former railroad conductor overcame many technical challenges of “Drake’s Folly” and was the first to use iron pipe casing…MORE

 

March 23, 1858 – Seneca Oil replaces Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company 

 

Investors organized the Seneca Oil Company of New Haven, Connecticut, after purchasing the Titusville leases of the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, the first U.S. oil company founded four years earlier by George Bissell. Seeking oil for refining into kerosene lamp fuel, Seneca Oil Company hired Edwin L. Drake to drill a well along Oil Creek, where Bissell had found oil seeps…MORE

 

Energy Education

Los Angeles Oilfield CIrca 1900 AOGHS

“View of oil derricks surrounding houses, two men walking down the street,” Los Angeles City oilfield,1890 photo detail courtesy California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento.

 

Prospector discovers Los Angeles City Oilfield

 

When struggling prospector Edward Doheny and his mining partner Charles Canfield decided to search for oil, they chose a site in Los Angeles already known for its “tar” pools that bubbled to the surface. Doheny had noticed a cart with bitumen on its wheels. On April 20, 1892, their well revealed the Los Angeles City field. Learn more in Discovering Los Angeles Oilfields.

 

The Texas Company founded during Spindletop Boom

 

Joseph “Buckskin Joe” Cullinan and Arnold Schlaet on April 7, 1902, established The Texas Company in Beaumont to transport and refine oil. The next year, company driller Walter Sharp discovered an oilfield at the spa town of Sour Lake Springs. Learn more in Sour Lake produces Texaco.

 

Oil & Gas Museums

 

Many community museums are beginning to reopen, including the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas. If you have vaccinated travel plans, support energy education by visiting them and the many other oil and gas museums.

 

The Luling Oil Museum in Texas has reopened in its recently restored downtown 1885 mercantile building. Exhibits include drilling and production equipment from the 1920s Luling oilfield. The museum also educates visitors about the modern industry. It gives no credence to the once widely told tale of the Luling field being discovered thanks to a “reading” by a famous psychic. Learn more in Luling Oil Museum and Crudoleum.

 

School groups will be returning to the Olinda Oil Museum & Trail outside Brea, California, according to volunteer docent Chris Farren, who adds that the museum now has a 1910 oil worker’s cottage. He is a sixth generation member of an oil worker family originally from Oil City, Pennsylvania. Farren joined the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, “because I have the same mission and interests.”

 

 

 

New research links and editorial content are possible thanks to our growing number of supporting members. There are other ways to help, especially with website outreach. Consider volunteering your expertise to expand our network and add new member services. Reply to this email to learn more — and thank you for helping to preserve petroleum history.

 

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

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Oil & Gas History News, March 2021

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March 17, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 3

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

As a welcomed Spring arrives, our March newsletter looks back at events that shaped the U.S. petroleum industry. These summaries link to updated articles from “This Week in Petroleum History” on the AOGHS website. This month features the origin of the iconic red Pegasus logo, some new technologies, and a few noteworthy petroleum product polymers.

 

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.

March 16, 1911 – Pegasus Trademark takes flight

 

A Vacuum Oil Company subsidiary in Cape Town, South Africa, trademarked a flying horse logo inspired by Pegasus of Greek mythology. Based in Rochester, New York, Vacuum Oil had built a successful lubricants business long before gasoline was a branded product. When Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of New York combined in 1931, the new company adopted the Pegasus trademark…MORE

March 9, 1930 – Prototype Oil Tanker is Electrically Welded

 

The world’s first electrically welded commercial vessel, the Texas Company (later Texaco) oil tanker M/S Carolinian, was completed in Charleston, South Carolina. The shipbuilding boom during World War I had encouraged American and British shipbuilders to develop new electric welding technologies. The 226-ton vessel was a prototype…MORE

March 1, 1921 – Halliburton improves Well Cementing

 

Erle P. Halliburton patented his “Method and Means for Cementing Oil Wells,” helping to improve a key oilfield technology. “It is well known to those skilled in the art of oil well drilling that one of the greatest obstacles to successful development of oil bearing sands has been the encountering of liquid mud water and the like during and after the process of drilling the wells,” he noted…MORE

February 22, 1923 – First Carbon Black Factory in Texas

 

Texas granted its first permit for a carbon black factory to J.W. Hassel & Associates in Stephens County. Scientists had discovered that carbon black greatly increased the durability of rubber used in tires. Produced by the controlled combustion of petroleum products, carbon black could be used in many rubber and plastic products…MORE

 

Featured Image

ellwood-shelling-Japanese-postcard-AOGHS

A Japanese postcard from World War II commemorates the 1942 submarine attack on the California refinery and storage facilities at Ellwood, a small oilfield community north of Santa Barbara. Image courtesy John Geoghegan.

 

Japanese Submarine shells California Oil Refinery

Less than three months after the start of World War II, Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-17 attacked a refinery and oilfield near Los Angeles. The submarine fired armor-piercing shells at the Bankline Oil Company refinery in Ellwood for 20 minutes before escaping into the night. The bombardment caused little damage — but created the largest mass sighting of UFOs in American history.  Learn more in Japanese Sub attacks Oilfield.

 

Energy Education Articles

 

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

On St. Patrick’s Day of 1949, Texas independent producer Glenn H. McCarthy hosted the grand opening of his $21 million, 1,100-room Shamrock Hotel on outskirts of Houston. McCarthy, who had discovered 11 oilfields by 1945, spent another $1 million for his hotel’s opening day gala. He also arranged for a 16-car Santa Fe Super Chief train to bring friends from Hollywood. Learn more in “Diamond Glenn” McCarthy.

 

While seeking the right material for making new toys in the 1950s, Wham-O chose “Marlex,” the world’s first high-density polyethylene plastic recently invented by chemists at Phillips Petroleum Company. The Bartlesville, Oklahoma, oil company’s marketing executives were relieved, since the transition from lab to market had proven difficult for the new plastic. Learn more in Petroleum Product Hoopla.

 

Former Harvard professor Wallace Carothers discovered the first synthetic fiber – nylon – while working at a DuPont research lab in 1935. After experimenting for more than six years, Carothers created a long molecule chain, a stretching plastic. The new petroleum product would be first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush in 1938. Learn more in Nylon, a Petroleum Polymer.

 

Thank you for reading our latest monthly “Oil & Gas History News.” Special thanks to new supporting members, who are helping AOGHS maintain its website, expand research, and add articles. All subscribers can help further by simply forwarding this newsletter to friends and colleagues!

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

Oil & Gas History News, February 2021

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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

Bufallo-Bill-Shashone-Oil-AOGHS

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

 
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“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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