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.