July 25th, 1543 – Oil Discovery

Oil was first discovered in the New World was made by Spanish explorers, hundreds of years before the oil well was struck in the United States. This unexpected discovery happened when a storm forced the explorers to land at a location near a river.

Don Luis de Moscoso guided the journey after he succeeded Hernando de Soto. Soto died from a fever two years earlier after he crossed the river in Mississippi. Until 1903, oil seeps continued in the region.

July 27th, 1918 – First Tanker Launched in Flushing Bay, New York

America’s first solid vessel built to transport natural gas launched in 1918 at Flushing Bay in New York. The freight ship was almost 100 feet long and had a beam that was over 30 feet in size. It was built for Standard Oil Company and could hold nearly 400 tons of cargo.

Cement and Engineering News detailed that bulk oil was put in the wings and center. Each compartment has eight iron pipes that lead to them, and the pumps were located on a room near the back of the tanker.

Zachary Liollio explains that enthusiasm for building solid tankers had gone down by 1930. That was when inventive electric welding innovations helped develop an oil items tanker. These innovations started with Texaco.

July 28th, 1924 – National Oil Scouts Association Forms in Texas

The National Oil Scouts Association established its place in Texas. By 1940, their charter had many landmen causing the organization to change their name to the National Oil Scouts and Landman’s Association. Later, in 1955, landmen created an association of their own.

Scouts worked to gather insight on drilling activities dating back to when U.S. oil manufacturing first began in the late 1800s. They kept track of insights about the area, rent and well depth. They also kept logs, details on formations and extra information that could be useful later on in the growth and development of this industry.

Author James Tennent claimed that  the lookouts “spared the general exchange millions by keeping market controllers under tight restraints.”

July 29th, 1918 – The World’s Wonder Oilfield Found in Texas

A well struck oil on Fowler’s ranch close to a little North Texas town in July of 1918. By the summer of 1919, there were more than 850 wells producing oil here.  This area would later be labeled as a “wonder oil field.”

The Texas oil boom put Burkburnett Field in the spotlight 20 years before “Boom Town,” the movie that would tell the story about this event.

The well was finished on the edge of Burkburnett. Established in 1907, the town was named after President Theodore Roosevelt after the president hunting on the nearby river with farmer Samuel Burk Burnett.

The well itself, nicknamed Fowler’s Folly, brought a natural gas craze to Wichita in 1918. A line of derricks welcomed tourists visiting Burkburnett. When combined with earlier revelations in Electra and Ranger, oil from Northern Texas helped stop oil shortages. This allowed allies to ride a wave of oil to victory in World War I.

Around the time of the natural gas craze of 1918, Clark Gable worked in oilfields in Oklahoma. He would later star in the “Boom Town” film in 1940.

July 29th, 1957 – Eisenhower Restricts Imports to Lessen Dependence on Foreign Oil

As America’s dependence on foreign oil increased, President Eisenhower established his own natural gas company. There were quotas for each region. He needed to ensure that residential oil supplies were accessible in case of a national crisis.

After two years, Eisenhower ended up replacing this voluntary program with a required one which continued until 1973 when it was canceled by President Nixon. This was when U.S. oil production began to climb and the Arabic natural gas embargo started.

July 30th, 1942 – WWII Submarine Accident Garners Attention From Oil Company

On July 30th, 1942, the U-Boat 166 became the only submarine to sink during WWII. Though it was charged by a Navy escort, the submarine was thought to have gotten away.

It wasn’t until an oil company was conducting surveys in the area, when they discovered the submarine actually hadn’t.

In 1986, a survey of Gulf’s Mississippi Canyon Zone had observed two wrecks. The Robert E. Lee was recognized, but the U-Boat 166 wasn’t identified. That was until enhanced surveying technology became available in 2001. The discovery came about because of a survey before a petroleum gas pipeline was developed by BP.

An autonomous underwater vehicle uncovered the U-Boat 166 when it separated the submarine from the Robert E Lee. BP later needed to adjust their pipeline to save the site.

Several other vessels from WII  have been found through these natural gas surveys. The industry stays on the cutting-edge of seafloor mapping an underwater technology.

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