April 4th, 1951 – Williston Basin Revealed

In North Dakota, Amerada Petroleum struck oil and discovered the infamous Williston Basin when they dug down two miles below the Clarence Iverson farm. The company had struggled for several weeks, efforting to drill through major snowstorms, when they finally made their discovery in early April.

This basin actually extended much further than expected. It sprawls into areas of South Dakota, Montana and even into Canada. Oil companies quickly made their way to these regions and in just two months, over 30 million acres of the basin were leased.

In March of 1951, this well had peaked at a 10,500-foot depth before a major snowstorm halted progress. Drilling began again on April 4th. When the operation did begin again, this well was then perforated at 11,630 and 11,640 feet. Historian James Key notes that this was the biggest discovery of a geologic basin in decades. The result was an entirely new industry for North Dakota.

According to a 2008 geological survey done in the U.S., it was estimated that the untapped oil and gas in the Williston Basin area may be nearly four million barrels and close to two trillion cubic feet, respectively. A 2013 estimate by the USGS claims that real figures could be double the previously guessed amounts.

April 5, 1976 – Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act

On April 5th, the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 was signed in by President Gerald Ford. This act made it possible for companies to start commercial efforts on the three Naval Petroleum Reserves in the nation.

Years later in 1992, the Naval Petroleum Reserve in California produced its billionth oil barrel. This Elk Hills area reserve was under control of the Department of Energy until 1998, when it was privatized. The reserve created billions of dollars in profit, more than 17 billion for the United States Treasury.

April 7th, 1902 – The Texas Company Rises

Despite many companies being founded during the Spindletop boom, The Texas Company rose above and was one of the most successful in the petroleum industry at the time.

Arnold Schlaet and Joseph “Buckskin Joe” Cullinan started the company on April 7th, 1902 in Beaumont. The goal was to refine and transport oil in the area. They also built a facility in Port Arthur for refining kerosene.

Another well, named Fee No. 3 was discovered in January of 1903 in the Sour Lake Springs area. This was a huge factor in the company’s success, as it produced 5,000 barrels of oil each day.

The name “Texaco” could be seen on all of the companies products. This was taken from the telegraph address of the New York office. Soon after, in 1909, The Texas Company registered a red star featuring a green “T” as their first trademark. The Texas Company grew to be nationally recognizable in 1928. They spanned across 48 states with upwards of 4,000 gas stations. In 1959, the company officially dropped ‘The Texas Company” for the name “Texaco Inc.”

April 7th, 1966 – Offshore Technology Accelerated by Cold War Mistake

Robotic technology that was being used by the petroleum industry was first put to work retrieving a lost atomic bomb, before it went on to completely revolutionize the oil and gas industry. An underwater vehicle used attached cables to remove the weapon from the Mediterranean Sea at 2,850 feet. The bomb was originally lost in January after a B-52 crashed offshore near Spain.

According to Popular Science Magazine, “It was located and fished up by the most fabulous array of underwater machines ever assembled,” The petroleum industry continued to push forward and adopted deep-sea technology developed by the Navy at the time of the Cold War.

April 9th, 1914 – Launch of Ohio Cities

On April 9th, 1914, Fletcher Health and Beman Dawes founded the Ohio Cities Gas Company in Columbus, Ohio. In 1917, the company bought out a Pennsylvania oil company named “Pure Oil Company” and subsequently changed their name to Pure Oil.

The original Pure Oil Company had been formed in Pittsburgh in 1895.  It was founded to challenge the dominance that Standard Oil Company had over the market at that time. It was only the second united oil company other than Standard. This company had its headquarters in a skyscraper in Chicago that was finished in 1926. At the time, it held a title as one of the 100 biggest industrial corporations in America. Later, in 1965 it was acquired by Union Oil Company of California, now known as a part of Chevron.

March 27th, 1855 – Kerosene Trademarked by Canadian Chemist

Abraham Gesner, a Canadian chemist and physician patented a now very widely used process that distills coal and turns it into a fluid called kerosene. Gesenser claimed to have discovered and subsequently invented a way to manufacture the new matter. Since the fluid was sourced from coal, buyers often referred to it as “coal oil.”

When it became known that kerosene could also be produced with crude oil, it gave birth to the petroleum exploration industry in the United States. At this time, new oil field sprawling across Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania was discovered. Soon kerosene, which was very inexpensive, became the primary light source in the U.S., before the implementation of the light bulb.

Abraham Gesner is credited as one of the fathers of the petroleum industry in Canada. In 1842, he established Canada’s first natural history museum. The Petroleum History Society notes that today, one of the country’s most dated geological collections has its place in the New Brunswick Museum.

March 27th, 1975 –  Construction on Alaskan Pipeline Starts

On March 27th, 1975, construction started on the biggest private construction venture at this time in U.S. history with the creation of the Alaskan Pipeline.

This pipeline would cost an estimated $8 billion by the time it was completed. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline was 800 miles long and included the Valdez Marine Terminal, more pipelines, and pumping stations. It was finished in 1977.

This pipeline consisted of segments spanning 420 miles. These segments were laid with an alternating zigzag pattern to lend itself to further expansion. Today, it is still recognized as an engineering landmark.

March 28th, 1886 – Gas Boom in Indiana

The Eureka Gas and Oil company located a new gas field, known as the Trenton Limestone, after drilling about 700 feet in Portland, Indiana. The result was a natural gas drilling boom. During this period of time, Indiana was the leading producer of natural gas in the United States.

This gas field was found just a few months after Findlay, Ohio’s “Great Karg Well,” located less than 100 miles northeast of the area.

According to James Glass, a historian from Ball State University, Pennsylvania was home to very large amounts of natural gas. They completely changed the glass steel and iron industries, encouraging the use of more natural gas over coal.

The Trenton Limestone turned out to be a big producer and was later found in 17 counties spanning more than 5,000 miles of the state of Indiana. Over the next three years, 200 companies became able to drill, distribute and sell natural gas in the area.

March 28th, 1905 – Northern Louisiana Oilfield Discovered

In 1905, The Offenhauser No. 1 Well officially struck oil approximately 1,556 feet underground. It was a part of the massive oilfield in Caddo-Pine Island.

Unfortunately, this well only produced five barrels each and was later abandoned. However, it encouraged further exploration in the area and soon more wells were discovered and this northern Louisian oilfield became a major source of production.

In 1906, Louisiana went on to pass the first conservation law in the state in an attempt to quell growing concerns over flaring causing a loss in natural gas. Production in the Caddo-Pine Island Oilfield went on to climb as high as 11 million barrels per year by 1918.

March 29th, 1819 –  Edwin Drake is Born

The man credited as one of the fathers of the oil industry, Edwin Drake was born on March 29th, 1819 in Greenville, New York. It was near Titusville, Pennsylvania in summer 1859 when he came to a breakthrough–he drilled a well that was the first to be commercial in the U.S. using a cable-rig device that was steam powered. He also coined the method of sending a pipe down to protect the structure of the well.

Despite many technical and financial challenges, Drake created a landmark in the history of energy. He was at the forefront of new technology including drilling technology, and isolation with iron casing. He was searching on behalf of Seneca Oil Company to find oil to refine into kerosene and thanks to a shallow well, he ended up pioneering an entire industry.

According to a historian from Pennsylvania State University,  in 1959, Drake came up with the plan for sending a pipe downward through a drill. He, however, did not patent this idea.

March 29th, 1938 – The Founding of the Sensational Magnolia Oilfield

An Arkansas newspaper dubbed Southern Arkansas an “oil country sensation,” after a 100-million barrel well opened in a Magnolia oilfield. The well was called the Barnett No. 1.

Due to a lack of backers and the recession, Kerlyn Oil Company suspended drilling. Despite this, Dean McGee a geologist and vice president of the company continued on. At a depth of 7,650, he uncovered a giant oil discovery. McGee also went on to lead early efforts Gulf of Mexico offshore exploration.

April 1st, 1911 – “Pump Jack Capital of Texas” Sees First Well

The town of Electra, Texas, got its name from the daughter of  rancher W.T. Waggoner. It is said that he complained after finding oil when creating wells for his cattle to have water.

However, he didn’t just find oil, he would make a discovery that would lead to an oil boom that lasted several decades. On April 1st, 1911, below the Red River border close to Electra, the Clayco Oil & Pipe Line Company created a well named Clayco No. 1.

According to an Electra historian, people of the town were thinking the gusher that started was a joke for April fools. They didn’t think the gusher was real until they could see the black oil shooting towards the sky.

The well, that was dug on Waggoner’s land, reached a production level of 650 barrels per day.  In 1913, Electra had its peak in oil production at 8 million barrels after many more wells popped up. This trend in Texas continued, in Eastland County with the eruption of “Roaring Ranger” in 1917 and an eventual boom known as “Burkburnett.”

Electra was named the “Pump Jack Capital of Texas” in 2001 after a campaign by passionate activists in the community. Now, more than 2,800 people celebrate this discovery every year with what they call the Pump Jack Festival.

April 1st, 1986 – Rock Bottom Price on Crude Oil

The petroleum industry hit a major low in 1986. Globally, oil prices were less than $10 per barrel. This happened due to a culmination of the recession, excessive production by OPEC and price and production controls in the industry.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Shenk, the market was flooded by Saudi Arabia during this time after previously changing their level of output to support the change. The oil prices dropped 69% in less than one year.

Oil prices bounced back by 1990. Oil prices were at their peak in the summer of 2008 at $145 for each barrel. The price dropped to under $32 before the next year.  These are shocking numbers when you look at the history of oil. Prices were between $2.50 and $3 for each barrel between 1948 and the 1960s, while the costs were less $25 during the mid-1980s through 2003 (adjusted for inflation).

April 2nd, 1980 – Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Signed by President Carter

The Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax was signed in 1980 by  President Jimmy Carter. Eight years later, it was repealed.

The Windfall Profit Tax (WPT) was controversial and created an excise tax for the production of oil. This all came just one year after previously listing price controls.

Policymakers followed a levy on oil production. The difference between the original price and the market cost of oil was taxed. The WPT was put in in an attempt to limit price jumps for oil. The price used came from the oil prices in 1979 and was adjusted annually to account for inflation.

In the following eight years of the tax, the production of domestic oil dropped the smallest rate in 20. In August of 1988, Congress repealed this tax, which was great news for all who worked in this industry.

March 20th, 1919 – American Petroleum Institute Established

The American Petroleum Institute (API) was established in New York City in 1921 in an effort to fuel World War I. The API created a scale to measure liquid petroleum density against water in 1921, an innovation that is now referred to as API gravity.

March 20th, 1973 –  Pithole, Penn listed in Historic Registry

Pithole, Pennsylvania earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places as a former oil boom town. A Pithole Creek oilfield discovery lead to a boom in the budding oil industry in the United States.

The resulting oil production was the first step to the nation’s first pipeline. Known for its impressive production numbers, a single oil boom in this town lasted 500 days.

March 23th, 1858 – Official Birth of Seneca Oil Company

Former railroad conductor Edwin Drake and investors from New Haven, Connecticut founded the Seneca Oil Company on March 23rd, 1858–a company that would go on to forever change the oil and gas industry. These businessmen had bought leases of Pennsylvania’s Oil Rock Company, the first U.S. oil company in history, with the help of George Bissell.

Bissell was excluded from the deal, despite the fact he had studied oil steeps south of the area. “The New Haven men then put the final piece of their plan into place with the formation of a new company,” according to the book William Brice in Myth Legend Reality: Edwin Laurentine Drake and the Early Oil Industry.

The first American oil well was created in 1959 by Seneca and Drake. This was in part due to information on oil seeps, uncovered by George Bissell. Although they didn’t close the deal on Seneca Oil together, both Bissell and Drake would later be credited as the fathers of the petroleum industry in America.

March 24th, 1989 – Supertanker Exxon Valdez Strikes Ground

When the Exxon Valdez tanker struck ground at Bligh Reef in 1989, the accident would lead to one of the largest oil spills to date. The incident took place in Prince William Sound, Alaska came after years of similar passages without issue.

Out of eleven oil tanks, eight sustained damage. About 260,000 oil barrels spilled onto land and sea impacting hundreds of miles along the coast.

The accident is still hailed as one of the most damaging spills in history. The cause was an error in navigation by the crew. It is suspected that the accident occurred because of exhaustion or the crew being overworked.

The Exxon Valdez tanker was sold in 2012.

March 26th, 2012 — East Texas Oil Museum Unveils Buddy The Electric Lineman

A full size animatronic version of Buddy, the electric lineman, was placed in the East Texas Oil Museum in a ceremony on March 26th, 2012.

This lifelike animatronic met visitors as they entered the oilfield discovery exhibit. This addition to the museum was very popular with guests from America and abroad.

Buddy was described by one visitor as a Tommy Lee Jones look-alike with the fashion sense of Indiana Jones.

March 26th, 1930 – The Mary Sudik Well Erupts

A famous oil well in Oklahoma hit a high-pressure structure under Oklahoma City and caused an oil eruption in March of 1930. The Mary Sudik Well flowed untamed for 11 total days.

The well became known as “Wild Mary Sudik” after producing 200 million cubic feet of gas and 20,000 barrels of oil each day.

The large oilfield discovery in Oklahoma City caused a lot of buzz. It was highlighted in newsreels on the radio as the dangerous increase in pressure in the well was overlooked before the eruption occurred.

While there is still some debate on the official cause, one historian credits this disaster to the crew neglecting to fill the hole with mud.

December 9, 1921 — Lead Gas Introduced To Reduce Knocking

Gas with a tetraethyl lead additive, or ethyl as it was advertised, promised to reduce the amount of ‘knock,’ which was a problem with early automobiles.

Imagine worrying about your engine getting damaged every time you turned the key. That used to be the case with early automobiles. That is until 1921, when scientists working for General Motors discovered that adding tetraethyl lead to gasoline helps prevent this damage, also known as knocking.

Early automobiles frequently suffered from problems with mis-timed combustion in their cylinders. This would result in a jolt that reduced efficiency and power so much that it could damage the engine. Scientist Thomas Midgely Jr., working under Charles Kettering, tried several different chemical additives before finding a compound of lead that eliminated the knocking effect. This additive allowed the gas to compress further, preventing the early combustion.

Leaded gas was used for decades, but it was phased out in the late 70s. Lead poisoning had been shown to have a range of negative consequences, including physical, developmental, and cognitive defects. Since the ban, environmental lead levels have dropped greatly. Today, it is only used in a few places around the world.

December 10, 1844 – Future Big Spending Oil Heir Adopted

After years spending through his inheritance, John Washington Steele became a recluse and worked as a railroad station agent.

When the McClintocks, a couple of Pennsylvania farmers, decided to adopt a baby boy in 1844, they had no idea that the former orphan would go on to be one of the most prolific spenders ever associated with the oil business.

The McClintocks owned the plot of land where Edwin Drake would discover oil in 1858–kicking off the first oil boom in the US. The McClintocks leased their land to drillers, making a fortune off their royalties. When the McClintocks passed away their adopted son, John Washington Steele, inherited their fortune.

Nicknamed ‘Coal Oil Johnny,’ he became known as one of the biggest spenders of his era. In a few years he had spent his way through his inherited fortune and fell into bankruptcy. He spent the majority of his later life trying to avoid the public eye.

December 10, 1955 – Dysart Uranium Well Appears In Life Magazine

The Ambrosia Lake site produced over 100 acres of radioactive tailings in its nearly three decades of operation.

On December 10th, 1955, Life magazine did a feature on Stella Dysart and her uranium mine, which was one of the first features of its kind for a single wealthy woman. Mrs. Dysart made a fortune off the discovery after years of failed oil drilling.

Dysart spent decades drilling in McKinley County, New Mexico without striking oil. In 1955, a sample from one of the dry wells was tested and found to contain radioactive uranium. Dysart had discovered one of the richest uranium deposits of an unusually high-grade ore.

While she had been tens of thousands of dollars in debt just a few years earlier, when Dysart appeared in Life, she was wearing mink and standing in front of the uranium mine that made her rich.

December 10, 1967 — Nuclear Bomb Used for Fracking

After the explosion a rubble filled chimney was left behind.

Fracking has long been a popular procedure in the oil industry, designed to fracture the seams underground, allowing petroleum to flow more freely. However, in 1967, Project Gasbuggy attempted to take a new approach to fracking that utilized a nuclear device.

While fracking had been used for nearly 40 years, previous methods had used high pressure fluids or explosives like dynamite.

The project was part of an effort to find peaceful uses for nuclear devices. A hole was drilled to a depth of 4,000 ft near a few low producing wells. A 29 kiloton bomb was lowered into the hole and exploded. A huge cavern underground was created and immediately collapsed. Though the project did produce nearly 300 million ft2 of natural gas, it was radioactive and couldn’t be used.

Geologists and nuclear experts from the government and a private company were part of the project. The effort to use nuclear explosives for fracking would be abandoned after the experiment.

December 11, 1950 — Federal Government Claims Jurisdiction Over Offshore Drilling

The Outer Continental Shelf leasing program makes certain areas available for petroleum leases.

A 1947, the US Supreme Court decided to extend the area available for off-shore drilling from three nautical miles to 200 nautical miles. That decision gave the Federal government control over offshore drilling and the revenue from petroleum leases. In 1954, the first leases earned the US government over $100 million.

November 14, 1947 – First True Offshore Well Is Drilled

The drilling platform called Kermac 16 would go on to produce oil for nearly forty years after it was first drilled.

This offshore drilling platform, known as the Kermac 16, was the first of its kind, located 10 miles from shore, out of sight of land, in the Gulf of Mexico. Built by Brown And Root Company, it rested on pilings sunk over 100 ft into the sea floor and stood in 20 ft of water. It was built to stand up to gale force winds and would be put to the test barely a week after it had begun operation, withstanding a Category 5 hurricane.

Daniel Kerr of Kerr-McGee was behind the construction, with financial backing from Stanolind and Phillips Petroleum. At the time this was a unique drilling platform and required specialized equipment for drilling offshore. Kerr also purchased a number of surplus military vessels and other supplies to provide crew quarters and equipment for the rig. It would cost nearly nearly half a million dollars to complete the experimental drill rig, but the investment would turn out to be well worth it.

The rig was able to produce nearly 1,000 barrels a day. Before it was decommissioned in 1984, the rig produce nearly 1.5 million barrels in total.

November 14, 1947 – Pipelines Built During WWII Sold To Private Company

The Big and Little Inch Pipelines were built during World War II as an emergency measure to bring oil from Texas to the East Coast.

The Big and Little Inch pipelines were built during World War II to protect oil produced in Texas as they were transported by tankers vulnerable to German submarines. After the end of the war, this pipeline was put up for sale to a private company. The private company that would take advantage of this offer was the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation. It had been formed less than a year earlier with the specific purpose of buying the pipelines and would go on to pay over $140 million dollars for the two pipelines.

As part of the terms of the sale, both pipelines were converted to transporting natural gas. Ten years later, the smaller Little Big Inch would revert to transporting oil.

November 15, 1906 – The Federal Government Breaks Up The Standard Oil Monopoly

This political cartoon shows Standard Oil as a giant octopus with its tentacles encircling major industries and political institutions across the United States.

Pushed by popular demand, Charles Bonaparte, the U.S. Attorney General, decided to break up the monopolistic Standard Oil. The company had actually been ordered to dismember a decade earlier, but a reorganization had allowed it to continue operating. The lower court would grant the Justice Department’s motion, but the case would go all the way to the Supreme Court before the company would be separated into 34 different companies in 1911.

November 15, 1952 — One Millionth Barrel of Oil is taken from the Williston Basin

This map shows the Williston Basin, which stretches across North and South Dakota, Montana, and southern Saskatchewan.

Oil in the northern US was first discovered in Montana thirty years earlier, but did not produce large amounts until further, richer oilfields were located in the 50s.

Oil in the northern US was first discovered in Montana in the 1920s; however, it did not produce significant amounts of oil; that is until new oilfields in the area were discovered in 1952.

Amerada Petroleum led the search, starting in 1946 but did not succeed with his efforts until 1951 when major fields were located in North Dakota. The largest were located in Mountrail, Williams, and McKenzie counties and were drawing from the Williston Basin formation. After these larger fields were located, they were producing around 350,000 barrels per month. A year later, in 1952, the fields produced its millionth barrel of oil.

November 17, 1949 — US Geological Survey Attempts To Locate Oil Reserves

The United States Geological Service is a government service which studies the landscape and natural resources of the country.

In 1949, the United States Geological Survey began a project that would investigate 22 states, as well as the then Alaska Territory, to locate prime locations for petroleum exploration. The effort involved 70 geologists and used some of the most advanced technology of its time. The USGS would continue to explore and locate oil reserves, as well as other natural resources.

November 19, 1927 — Iconic Phillips 66 is Unveiled

The United States Geological Service is a government service which studies the landscape and natural resources of the country.

While Phillips Petroleum was founded in 1917 to discover and develop new oil fields, they didn’t begin operating refineries and retail gas stations until 1927. The company offered its own brand of gas, called Phillips 66, at its first station. The name was chosen after a vehicle fueled with the new gas, and carrying a collection of company executives, got up to the, then quite high, speed of 66 mph on the historic Route 66.

The highway would soon play host to many Phillips stations, and the company would add 50 stations every month for several years. By 1930, there were nearly 7,000 Phillips 66 stations across the country.

The gas had a mix of gasoline and naphtha at a higher gravity than had previously been used. This mixture made it easier for cars to start when the engine was cold, causing the gas to specifically be advertised for winter. However, that marketing strategy was dropped in favor of promoting it year-round.

November 20, 1930 — Conrad Hilton Adds A New Hotel To His Oil Fueled Business

The Hilton Hotel was originally the site of the Sheldon Hotel, which was used as a headquarters for Mexican Revolutionaries.

In 1930, Conrad Hilton opened his first high rise hotel in El Paso, Texas. Construction began the previous year and continued despite economic upheaval caused by the Great Depression.

Hilton had bought his original hotel in Cisco, Texas a decade earlier. He had originally planned to buy a bank, but when that deal fell through he purchased a hotel instead. Roughnecks were flooding the area to work in the newly-discovered Ranger oilfield, which was fueling a boom in the area and the eventual boom for the Hilton brand of hotels.

September 25th, 1922 – First Commercial Oil Well Drilled in New Mexico

The Navajo Indian Reservation was the site of the first ever commercial well in New Mexico. The Midwest Refining Company finished the well and ultimately launched the oil industry in the state.

Close to Shiprock, the Hogback No. 1 produced 375 BOPD.  After that discovery, Midwest Refining finished 11 other oil wells in the Hogback Oilfield, which would establish the area as a major producer in the San Juan Basin. A pipeline was built two years later so that the oil could be refined in a facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All this production led to more exploration. As a result, discoveries made in 1928 brought an economic boom to the town of Hobbs and the rest of Lea County.

September 26th, 1876 – California Oil

Charles Menty’s company, the California Star Oil Works had drilled three promising wells by 1876, however, their first gusher wasn’t discovered until September 26th of that year. It was named the Pico No. 4 and it was also the first commercial oil well in California. The well was drilled with a steam-powered, cable tool rig on land that was known for oil seeps. This discovery would later reveal this Pico Canyon oilfield near Los Angeles.

That Star Oil Works discovery led to California’s first oil refinery and pipeline being constructed. The well produced 25 BOPD at 370 feet. The refinery and pipeline were built so that axle grease, kerosene and other types of lubricants could be made. Stills on the foundations had the capacity to refine 150 BOPD.

The Standard Oil Company of California is now known as Chevron. Today, the establishment of the company is attributed to California Star Oil Works and the oil discovery in Pico Canyon.

September 26th, 1933 – Record Set by King Ranch Lease

Though W.S. Parrish, the president of Humble Oil and Refining Company, had reservations about leasing King Ranch, he eventually decided to put it up for rent. It was Wallace Pratt, a well-known geologist, that pushed for the company to lease the large, million-acre property in Texas. It was leased for close to $130,000 per year and a small royalty on any discovered oil.

The deal had the biggest negotiated contract in the United States. Early “dusters” on King Ranch were drilled by the Humble Oil and Refining of Houston, which was established several years earlier in 1917.

Other leases nearby granted Humble Oil and Refining millions of acres of mineral rights. These rights spanned between the Rio Grande River and Corpus Christi.  In 1947, Humble was running almost 400 productive wells on the lease from King Ranch. The company ExxonMobil has continued to extend the Humble natural gas and oil agreement since it went into effect in 1933.

September 26th, 1943 – First Oil Well Discovered in Florida

The Humble Oil Company finished Florida’s first commercial oil well in 1943. This well, known as the Sunnilan No. 1, was located along a railway near the Atlantic Coastline.

Humble Oil spent $1 million dollars and drilled to almost 12,000 feet to finish the well, which was located just 12 miles from Immokalee, near Naples and Big Cypress Reserve.

The petroleum in Florida had been eluding wildcatters since the turn of the century. By 1939, close to 80 wells were drilled. In a desperate attempt to gain tax revenue from oil production, Florida state legislators offered 50,000 dollars for the first productive discovery. Shortly after, the Sunniland oilfield was uncovered, and drilling looked more promising. By 1954, this field was producing half a million oil barrels each year from eleven wells.

Humble Oil claimed the $50,000 prize that the Florida legislature offered and contributed an additional $10,000 to it. The prize was then split and donated to Florida State College for Women and the University of Florida. Humble is now known as ExxonMobil.

September 27th, 1915 – Oklahoma’s Deadly Gas Explosion

A train car holding casinghead gas blew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma on September 27th, 1915, injury many and killed 43 people. The train car arrived the previous day and was preparing to go to a refinery close by. Casinghead gasoline (or natural gas) was critical to Oklahoma’s petroleum development. The state had 40 processing plants operating at the time.

The explosion, that took place at 2:20 PM, and occurred as a result of rising temperatures. The heat triggered a valve which started releasing gas pressure. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Ardmore Refining Company sent an employee to take the dome off the top of the car, which unfortunately filled the area with vapors and gas.

The explosion was set off by an unknown source and the explosion all but demolished the Ardmore. The Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway was held responsible and they paid just over $1 million resolving claims related to the incident. The society reported that as a result, companies changed their methods for extracting and transporting natural gas.

September 30th, 2006 – Roughnecks Tribute

The statue “Tribute to the Roughnecks” was placed near the Alamitos No. 1 Well, situated just 20 miles from Los Angeles. This well uncovered the Long Beach oilfield in 1921.

The Long Beach oilfield has produced over 1 million barrels of oil since it was discovered. A plaque notes that the monument is a tribute to petroleum pioneers and their success in the Signal Hill Oil Boom.

October 1st, 1908 – Ford’s Assembly Line Breakthrough With the Model T

In Ford’s Detroit plant, the Model T came off the assembly line for the first time, marking one of the biggest breakthroughs for the auto giant.

Ford had built around 15 million Model T cars from 1908 to 1927. The Model T Cars got their power from cheap gas. This was good for the oil industry because there was less demand for kerosene as electric lighting became popular.

More breakthroughs, including a find close to Beaumont, Texas, in 1901, would solve the industry’s problem. They would help meet the demand for what was previously a byproduct of refining: gasoline.

October 1st, 1942 – First Saltwater Injection Well Successfully Drilled

The first saltwater injection well was drilled by  East Texas Salt Water Disposal Company. The well was completed in the East Texas Oilfield, which at the time was only 12 years old.

About a decade earlier, the Federal Bureau of Mines found that injecting saltwater into formations would increase oil production and reservoir pressure. The Texas Railroad Commission saw how important this was as well pushing them to establish the company as a utility. It operated in the “Black Giant” field.

The company collected, handled, and re-injected around close to two million barrels of saltwater in just 13 years. As a result, the commission claimed that saltwater injection was one of the most significant oil conservation projects in history.

September 18th, 1948 – Utah Completes First Commercial Oil Well

In 1948, Utah’s first commercial oil well was completed in the Uinta Basin, by the leader of the Equity Oil Company, J.L. “Mike” Dougan. J.L’s small company did surprisingly well for its size, beating bigger, more advanced competitors like Union Oil, Standard Oil of California, Continental, and Pure Oil. J.L’s initial discovery is what started a deep-drilling oil boom.

J.L. drilled past the normal depth (1,000-2,000 feet), and his discovery was named Ashley Valley No 1. At 4,000 feet, it produced 300 BOPD. Soon, a big production boom hit this area and it is estimated that 1 million barrels of oil came from the field every year.

The success of the basin eventually encouraged other companies to start to drill even deeper wells to nearly 10,000 feet. Now, it’s said the Uinta Basin holds 10,000 cubic feet of gas, covering an area of over 15,000 square miles.

September 21st, 1901 – First Oil Well in Louisiana

The “Lucas Gusher” was found in January 1901, in Spindletop, Texas. Before the end of the year, another notable oilfield was discovered 90 miles east of the infamous site with the discovery of the Jules Clements No. 1 Well.

On the Jules Clements farm in Louisiana, W. Scott Heywood completed a well that produced 7,000 BOPD. The exact location was about six miles from Jennings. Heywood first became successful after drilling wells at Spindletop Hill. However, when the Jules Clements No. 1, became the first commercial well in Louisiana, he found a new level of financial prosperity he couldn’t ever have imagined.

The Jennings Daily News reported that this well destroyed crops on the farm. It flowed oil and sand onto the land for several hours, creating a pool of the substances over the area.

However, the discovery of the well would later open Jennings Field. Heywood secured leases and used storage tanks and pipelines to develop the field. During peak production in 1906, the Jennings oilfield produced more than 9 million barrels of oil. Louisiana’s petroleum industry expanded even more when oil discoveries were made in the northern part of the state.

September 23rd, 1918 – Wood River Refinery Opens Its Doors

The Roxana Petroleum Company began refining oil at their Wood River facility in  September of 1918. During its first year in operation, the facility processed over 2 million barrels of oil from fields in Oklahoma.

In 1912, the Roxana Petroleum Company was established by the Royal Dutch/Shell group, the organization also responsible for establishing the American Gasoline Company.

While the purpose of that company was to distribute gas to the West Coast, Roxana Petroleum was initially founded to produce the high-quality oil coming from across Oklahoma. This oil would later be refined at Wood River.

Today, Wood River is the biggest refinery owned by Phillips 66, processing over 300,000 BOPD.

September 23rd, 1933 – California Geologists and Saudi Arabia

Standard Oil Company of California geologists were invited to the Port of Jubail by King Abdel Aziz. He was the king of Saudi Arabia. While the geologists searched for “kindred bituminous matter” and petroleum, they uncovered a huge oilfield. This discovery would lead to a partnership between Standard Oil and Saudi Arabia known as Aramco, or the Arabian American Oil Company. American companies like Texaco also joined Aramco later on.

September 23rd, 1947 –“Horton spheres” Get Their Patent

A spherical storage vessel was first invented by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company’s (CB&I) founder in the 1920s. In 1947, the company received a patent for improvements on this invention. The purpose of the vessel was to hold and store propane, natural gas, other petroleum products. This sphere was considered one of the most efficient and innovative technologies used on the oil patch.

CB&I created the “Hortonspheres” in 1923. The invention was named for the company’s founder, Horace E. Horton.  In 1889, he started the company to build bridges over the Mississippi River. In 1892, Chicago Bridge and Iron finished their first elevated water tank in Fort Dodge, Iowa. According to CB&I history, that steel plate tank was one of the company’s first innovations. It was also the first elevated water tank built with a hemispherical bottom.

However, the innovation didn’t end there. Soon after, Chicago Bridge and Iron built the first field-erected spherical pressure vessel in Port Arthur, Texas. Today, CB&I has built over 50 percent of the planet’s field-erected spheres.

September 24th, 1951 – Bazooka Technology Developed After Oil Technology

Name it a “downhole bazooka.”

In 1951, war veteran Henry Mohaupt, signed up to license his “Shaped Gun and Charge Assembly” which would eventually become the bazooka. He did this based off technology the oil industry used during WWII.

Mohaupt took the lead in an army program looking to create an anti-tank weapon. The idea to use a hollowed out explosive to guide and focus the energy from detonation led to the creation of the rocket grenade that would be used inside the bazooka.

The Well Explosives Company noticed the potential in the downhole grenades. This Texas-based company saw how the grenades could help oil flow from oil-bearing formations. Well Explosives would later employ Mohaupt where he helped develop technologies that would safely pierce pipe and cement casings.

September 11th, 1866 – Ewing’s Method Officially Patented, Leading to Mobil Oil

In 1866, a carpenter named Matthew Ewing patented his method for distilling kerosene. Ewing’s method involved kerosene being distilled in a vacuum in a process that ultimately produced lubricants. The result of this post-Civil War innovation was the establishment of Mobil Oil.

Matthew Ewing and Hiram Everest founded the Vacuum Oil Company in New York. This happened just three weeks after the patent was issued and “Ewing’s Patent Vacuum Oil” was the company’s first product. It was a leather conditioner. Eventually, Ewing ended his partnership with Everest and found greater success with Vacuum Harness Oil. He used containers that were normally used for canning oysters to distribute lubricant.

Everest sold 75% of Vacuum Oil to Standard Oil Company in 1880. Vacuum Oil became Socony Mobil more than fifty years later. Then, the company became Mobil Oil and finally ExxonMobil as the result of a merger in 1999.

September 12th, 1866 – First Texas Oil Discovery

Lyne Taliaferro Barret and the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company finished a well east of Nacogdoches in 1866. This well turned out to be the first commercial well in the Lone Star state.

The No. 1 Isaac C. Skillern Well was drilled in Oil Springs. Oil was found at just over 100 feet. However, production was somewhat minimal and the well only produced 10 BOPD. This combined with limited market access led to the failure of Barret’s company. The field was dormant for almost 20 years until other companies found oil nearby.

Some of the wells in Nacogdoches field produced oil until the 1950s, making it one of the oldest producing fields in Texas for many years.

September 13th, 1957 – Hawaii’s First Refinery Opens

Standard Oil of California announced plans to build the first refinery in Hawaii in 1957. The location was 8 miles from Pearl Harbor on the Island of Oahu. In 1959, Popular Mechanics reported that Standard Oil originally planned to import oil using a submarine cable.

September 13th, 1975 – Permian Basin Petroleum Museum Opens

Over 400 guests attended the opening ceremony of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library and Hall of Fame. President Gerald R. Ford even traveled to Midland, Texas to speak at the event.

Ford also toured the museum and was presented with a sculpture by Lester Fox called “Dressing the Bit.” Chairman Emil Rassman was in charge of presenting the piece.

More than 500 community leaders contributed to the completion of the museum. That effort was lead by George Abell. Today, visitors can see a number of cultural, geological and technical exhibits along with a collection of rare Chaparral race cars are also on display.

September 14, 1871 – Grant’s Tour Unveils Future Oil Sites

President Ulysses S. Grant went on a tour of northwestern Pennsylvania. This tour included sites that contributed to a major oil boom such as Oil City, Petroleum Center and Titusville. All of these locations played a role in a commercial oil discovery that would change the world forever. In 1875, Grant ordered Pennsylvania Avenue to be paved with asphalt–a product that came as a byproduct of the oil production in these areas.

September 14th, 1929 – Yates Well Breaks Records

When a Texas well struck oil at about 1,000 feet and produced an over 200,000 BOPD, it became the most productive well in the world at the time. The Yates 30-A Well was producing close to 9,000 barrels of oil every hour, setting a new production record.

This well was in Pecos County, close to the Yates field. A year later, the Ira G. Yates 1-A. was discovered, eventually unveiling the true size of the Permian Basin.

The newest well is operated by Transcontinental Oil and the Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company, now Marathon. This well ultimately lead to prosperity in Odessa, Midland, and Iraan. The Yates Field hit a historic milestone in 1985 when it produced its billionth oil barrel.

September 14th, 1960 – Baghdad Conference and OPEC Established

The OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was established by Venezuela, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq at the Baghdad Conference. Nine other members would also join the organization. Its headquarters were in Geneva, Switzerland, until September 1965. Today, the location of their headquarters is Vienna, Austria.

The objective of the OPEC is to unify and coordinate and unify petroleum policies in member countries. They strive to establish stable and fair prices for producers and to provide an economic, efficient and regular petroleum supply to consuming nation. The organization also places great focus on getting fair returns on capital for industry investors.

September 15th, 1886 – Eaton Mining and Gas Company Ushers In Indiana Boom

The Eaton Mining and Gas Company was founded by investors in 1886 after Ohio natural gas discoveries excited speculation in Indiana. On September 15th, the company’s first well was completed at 920 feet. When natural gas was found, it’s said that the resulting flame could be seen in Muncie, which was 10 miles away.

At that time, The Trenton Field was the largest gas field in the world, spreading over 17 counties in the state of Indiana and launching a natural gas boom in the state. Over the next 36 months, more than 200 companies were drilling, selling and exploring natural gas. Andrew Carnegie, a well-known industrialist claimed that natural gas replaced ten thousand tons of coal for steelmaking each day.

September 4th, 1841 – Percussion Drilling Technology Patented

The “Rock Drill Jar” was patented by William Morris on September 4th, 1841 with a discovery that would forever change the drilling industry as it further supported further development in early drilling technology. Morris experimented with his device while he drilled brine wells.

Historian Samuel Pees explained that the success of mechanical cable tool drilling had relied on jars. He added that William drilled salt wells with jars in the 1830s. However, there wasn’t much else known about Morris beyond his address, listed in Kanawha County, and his invention. Later, when used in combination with jars, cable tool systems were able to meet drilling demands.

William Morris patented the device, using his knowledge as a driller, simply naming it No. 2243. The purpose of this device was to link sinkers and augers together to bore artesian wells.

The upper part of the jars operated with a sinker bar. This section would perform a critical function. It caused the lower part to strike the underlying auger stem with strong force. The force could free a bit if it was stuck in a formation.

Percussion drilling efficiency increased because of the telescoping link apparatus. In the years that followed, other drillers continued to improve the jars. As a result, cable-tool drilling technology quickly began to advance.

September 5th, 1927 – Electric Logging Tool Tested by the Schlumberger Brothers

In Pechelbronn, France brothers Marcel and Conrad Schlumberger used a new surface system for the first time. This new electric well-logging tool worked vertically inside a well instead of horizontally.

In 1912, Conrad had developed a plan for using electrical measurements that could map out rock formations. After the brothers developed a four-probe surface approach for mineral exploration, they created their well log.

They put the tool to use shortly after and recorded a single lateral-resistivity curve at points in a wells’ borehole. Then, they graphically organized the results against the well’s depth. This created a log of geologic structures. Differences in underground resistance readings revealed variations and prolific areas.

This ground-breaking technology made Schlumberger the first well logging company in the world.

September 5th, 1885 – The First “Filling Station” Pump Created

When Sylvanus F. Bowser created the design for the modern gas-pump in 1885, he had no idea how widely used his invention would be. He sold the first pump Fort Wayne, Indiana to an owner of a grocery store.

The gas-pump held 42 gallons and was made so that petroleum products burning fluid could be safely distributed. Bowser’s gas-pump featured an upright faucet, marble valves and a wooden plunger.

After Sylvanus sold his first pump, it gained popularity fast. In 1887, Sylvanus patented his creation and established the S.F. Bowser Company. In the next decade, vehicles became more popular making the company was extremely successful. The Self-Measuring Gasoline Storage Pump was a well known filling station for drivers by 1905. People claim the first gas station was built in St. Louis during the same year.

September 7th, 1917 –  Hogg’s Oil Legacy

Fifty miles south of Houston, The Tyndall-Wyoming Oil Company finished the No 1. Hogg well after the company drilled 20 dry holes in a row. Another well they found a few months later went on to produce over six hundred BOPD. These two wells ended the cycle of dry holes that dated back to 1901.

During that year, Texas Governor Jim Hogg paid close to $30,000 to lease the land. Oil discoveries on that land that revealed West Columbia Oilfield. Hogg died eleven years before these discoveries. However, he specified in his will that the mineral rights shouldn’t be sold for 15 years after he passed. This turned out to be highly beneficial for his family, as by 1918 the field produced over 100,000 barrels of oil.

September 7th, 1923 – Discovery at Dominguez Hills

In 1923 Major Frederick Russell Burnham found oil in Dominguez Hills. This location was an unincorporated section of Los Angeles Country. The well produced more than 1,000 BOPD at a depth of four thousand feet. Before his discovery, Frederick was a soldier for British and U.S armies and was known as “King of the Scouts.”

The Dominguez Hills oilfield was opened by two companies: the Union Oil Company of California and the Burnham Exploration Company. The oilfield was two miles wide and deep and contained eight productive zones.

This oil field was named after a Spanish soldier who obtained grant for the land in 1784. The area turned out to be extremely prolific. According to California State University, Dominguez Hills, family fortunes skyrocketed in the Torrance area and Dominguez Hill area in the 1920s. Union Oil and Burnham Exploration paid more than $10 million to stockholders by 1933.

September 9th, 1928 – Oil Production Regulated in Oklahoma

In 1928, the state regulatory body enforced an order on oil production across the entire state of Oklahoma. The goal was to control overproduction in new oil fields, including fields from the Seminole oil boom.

These limitations were as set by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Oil production was limited to 700,000 BOPD. Wildcat wells had a limit of one hundred BOPD. The commission allocated just over 400,000 BOPD for newer oil fields like Seminole and about 300,000 BOPD for older oil fields.

September 10th, 1879 –  Chevron Established

In 1879, the now world-famous Chevron Corporation started after Pacific Coast Oil acquired California Star Oil Works. California Star Oil Works was the first company to uncover large amounts of oil in California.

As the company grew, its retail outlets added many service station logos to help build the brand identity it is known for today. Some of the logos added were Texaco red star, the Unocal “76” logo, Standard Oil Company of California’s chevron and the orange disc of Gulf Oil.

A company historian claimed that an oil discovery in Pico Canyon led to the start of the Pacific Coast Oil Company. He went on to state that Alex Mentry struck oil in Pico Number 4. He was up against underbrush, rattlesnakes, mud and wasps at the time, but still made the discovery, officially putting California on the map as an oil-producing state.

The largest refinery in California was built by Pacific Coast Oil in 1880. The refinery had a capacity of 600 BOPD.

Pacific Coast Oil merged with Standard Oil from 1906 to 1911. In 1926, Standard Oil became Socal. In 1984, Gulf Oil was acquired by Chevron U.S.A. Later, in 2001, it merged with Texaco. Unocal was also acquired by Chevron in 2005, ultimately building the Chevron brand that we all know today.

September 10th, 1969 – Second Nuclear Test Takes Place in Colorado

On September 10th, 1969, residents near Garfield County Colorado heard a major explosion when a 40-kiloton nuclear device exploded. The device was detonated eight miles southeast of Parachute, CO, as part of the government-sponsored Operation Plowshare.

The purpose of the program was to study explosions from nuclear devices for nonviolent purposes. This was the second test of its kind, with the first nuclear test taking place in New Mexico in 1967.

Four years later in Rio Blanco County, Colorado a third test, named Rio Blanco took place. Three 33 kiloton devices detonated underground all at the same time. Their depths ranged between 5,000 and 7,000 feet, but unfortunately, the natural gas that came out of these tests was radioactive and unusable.

August 30th, 1919 – Snake Hollow Gas Boom Brings Industry to Pittsburgh

The August 30th the discovery of the Snake Hollow Gusher in McKeesport, Pennsylvania spearheaded a Pittsburgh oil boom, eventually bringing 300 companies to the area in a matter of months.

The well was located near Monongahela River and produced over 60 million feet of gas per day. This discovery caused an exploration frenzy and more than $30 million dollars of investment in the area.

A  local newspaper reported that many citizens agreed to allow drilling on their property. Additionally, gas company stocks were sold on street corners and brokerage houses appeared where barbershops used to be.

Despite all of this, the frenzy ended quickly, only seven  months after the discovery of the well. Production quickly declined in nearly 200 wells. Additionally, 440 exploratory wells ended up being dry holes. During the boom, millions of dollars were invested but only $3 million in profits were made back. This field was later called the scene of the largest boom and loudest crash in Pittsburgh.

August 30th, 2002 – Birth of ConocoPhillips

Frank and L.E. Phillips finished their first well almost 100 years after the Snake Hollow Gusher and almost 130 years after Continental Oil used a horse drawn carriage to deliver its very first can of kerosene. Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum combined to establish ConocoPhillips in 2002.

Other business ventures also contributed to the success of ConocoPhillips. Some of the earlier companies were Marland Oil, Transcontinental Oil and Transportation, Continental Oil and Refining, and 101 Ranch Oil. ConocoPhillips separated its marketing and refining businesses ten years later. After the separation in May 2012, Phillips 66 debuted as an independent energy company.

August 31st, 1850 – San Francisco Utility Inc. Established

In 1850, The San Francisco Gas Company was established to distribute and produce manufactured gas under the leadership of James and Peter Donahue and Joseph Eastland. These Irish immigrants built a coal gasification plant. Their plant distilled coal and made gas to power lights. In 1952, the power for the first gas street lamps came from The San Francisco Gas Company. Over the next five decades, The San Francisco Gas Company merged with other companies ultimately resulting in the formation of the Pacific Gas and Electric in 1905.

There were around 8,500 lamps on the street in San Francisco by 1915. These lamps were turned on and off by hand. In 1930, the final coal-gas lamp was extinguished as the town transitioned entirely to gas lamps.

August 31st, 1859 – First Dry Hole in America is Drilled

The first oil well in America was found in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859 and just four days later, an entrepreneur named John Grandin achieved a series of more, less profitable, “firsts.”

Previously, Edwin L. Drake used a method that required a steam powered rig to drill. Grandin’s method, on the other hand, was more simple. He drilled a well at a place called Gordon Run Creek. To drill this well he used the tried and true spring-pole method. Grandin’s well had a depth of around 134 feet, and was deeper than Drake’s but it didn’t produce.

By the end of August, Grandin’s dry hole still accomplished many milestones in the petroleum industry. Grandin’s well was credited as the first well shot with black powder and the first well to be ruined by a shooting attempt.

September 1st, 1862 – Federal Oil Taxes Put in Place to Pay for Civil War

A federal tax of 15 cents per cubic foot of gas was put in place to help pay for the Civil War. The news about this tax wasn’t well received. Editors from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle attacked local gas companies responsible for the tax claiming it created an imbalance and burdened the company’s customers.

Brooklyn Gas Light Company publicly refuted the claims. A couple of years later in 1864, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase introduced another $1 tax on oil barrels to help fund the war.

September 2nd, 1910 – Cities Service Company Inc. Opens in Oklahoma

Henry Doherty established Cities Service Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was a public utility company. Before the company was founded, Henry bought producing land Oklahoma and Kansas. He also acquired distributing companies and connected them to gas supplies. The company’s income came from stock dividends.

Five years later, the El Dorado Oilfield was discovered by Wichita Natural Gas Company. This company was a Cities Service Company subsidiary. The Oklahoma City Oilfield was discovered by another subsidiary, Empire Oil and Refining, in 1928.

In 1940, federal court mandates caused the divestiture of Cities Service’s Utilities. The remaining companies were reformed in 1959. This venture was named Cities Service Oil Company. In 1964, the company was renamed to CITGO to change as part of a rebranding effort.

In 1982, Occidental Petroleum acquired CITGO. Petróleos de Venezuela bought half of the company four years later, and finally in 1990, the other half of the company was acquired by the Venezuela Oil Company.

September 2nd, 2009 – Record in The Gulf of Mexico

In the Gulf of Mexico, a few hundred miles southeast of Houston, BP made a huge oil discovery uncovering a well that had a record depth of nearly 31,000 feet. A platform floated more than 4,000 feet above this discovery.

The location on the Timber Prospect Oil Field was thought to be very prolific. In 2009, it was estimated that it held more than 3 billion barrels of oil. This well was drilled by the Deepwater Horizon  which was ultimately destroyed in an oil spill and explosion in April 2010.

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