Volume 12, Number 1, 2011
Volume 12, Number 1, 2011
The First Reports of Oil in Oklahoma: Addendum,
Errata: Volume 11, No. 1, 2010
Drake Monument Rededication Follow Its Restoration,
Historical Markers Subsidized by The Petroleum History Institute,
Abstracts — 2011 International Symposium, Marietta , Ohio
Petroleum History Institute 2011 Awards
Bibliography Of History Of Petroleum, 2010-2011,
Memorial – Thomas D. Barrow (1924-2011)
Gerald M. Friedman: 1921–2011 — A Singular Life,
Volume 12, 2011 Abstracts
ABSTRACT: The Petroleum History Institute, in collaboration with the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, held its annual symposium and field trip at historic Marietta, Ohio, on the banks of the Ohio River. We are indebted to the co-chairs of the meeting, Jeff Spencer (PHI) and Rhonda Reda (OOGEEP), for organizing such a great meeting and field trip. Participants, as is the custom at such meetings, were treated to a wide variety of talks and poster presentations ranging from the history of oil and gas in Ohio to the many contributions to the industry from Baku. On the field trip the group visited the Thorla-McKee Well, a salt water well drilled in 1814 that produced the first commercial oil in Ohio, as well as seeing an old, but still operating, natural gas engine attached to a very large band wheel driving several pumpjacks – still producing Ohio crude after about 100 years –, and a wonderful stop at the Parkersburg Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg, West Virginia, hosted by the founder and director, David McKain. Before leaving West Virginia the group made a brief stop at Henderson House, a historic home now owned by the Parkersburg Museum. The trip ended with a tour of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Marietta College led by Dr. Robert Chase, the Department Chairman. Ralph W. Baird, founder of Baird Petrophysical Group (Houston, Texas) and co-founder of PetroDevelopment Partners (Texas and California) and I. L. (Ike) Morris, founder and president, Waco Oil & Gas, Inc. (West Virginia) were each presented with the Edwin L. Drake Legendary Oilman Award for 2011, and the Samuel T. Pees Keeper of the Flame Award for 2011 was presented to Neil J. McElwee, noted oil historian and author, and to William L. Huber, a third generation independent oil producer from Plumer, Pennsylvania. Mr. Huber still uses and maintains some of the equipment and wells put in by his grandfather who started the family production company in 1865. Also PHI honored Jeff A. Spencer with its Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions to the Petroleum History Institute, including co-organizing two of our meetings, and one more in 2012. The next PHI symposium and field trip meeting will be held in Houston, Texas, March 8-10, 2012.
ABSTRACT: The history of petroleum in Ohio is as old as that of Pennsylvania, but, perhaps, not as well known. Oil was found in salt water wells, and used commercially as early as 1816. S. P. Hildreth published articles about Ohio oil about a decade later, and Benjamin Silliman, Sr. did his well-known analysis in 1833. But the man who really put Ohio oil on the map was Ebenezer Baldwin Andrews. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 29th, 1821, but spent most of his life in Ohio and what became West Virginia; part of the western frontier of the time. The youngest of seven children born to Reverend William and Sarah (Parkhill) Andrews, Ebenezer had one sister and five brothers, and of the six boys in the family, five of them, including Ebenezer, followed their father into the ministry. After beginning his college work at Williams College, he transferred to Marietta College where his brother Israel was a mathematics professor. After graduating with the Class of 1842, Ebenezer did his theological training at Princeton and was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1846. After serving for several years as pastor for churches in Housatonic, Massachusetts, and New Britain, Connecticut, he was invited to give a commencement address at his alma mater, Marietta College, and so impressed the faculty, that he was elected to the Chair of Natural Sciences in 1851. This was quite a change from the pulpit to the lecture hall, but apparently he had a keen interest in nature, and especially in geology. It was during his time at Marietta College and shortly after Edwin Drake’s discovery that he turned his attention to petroleum and its field relationships with the geology of the area. In his 1861 paper he noted the relationship between the quantity and quality of oil seeps and the underlying structure, an idea that was later developed into the anticlinal theory of oil exploration. As with many of his age, his career was interrupted by the Civil War, but after serving with distinction, he resumed his duties at Marietta College. In 1869 he resigned to join J. S. Newberry’s Ohio Geological Survey. At one point he and Newberry were involved in quite a controversy concerning the new state geologic map. In his later career he did very little with oil exploration and devoted his time to the search for coal, but his pioneering work with petroleum helped create the new science of petroleum geology. His final years were spent in Lancaster, Ohio, where he died August 14, 1880, at the age of 59.
ABSTRACT: Photographers captured many great views of North American oil booms. Common scenes included oil gushers, oilfield fires, teamsters, and boomtowns. These photographs were produced and sold to tourists, and many were later used in stereoviews and postcards. Three oilfield photographers, representing three time periods and three major oil booms, stand out. Frank Robbins (1846? – 1924) documented the emerging Pennsylvania petroleum industry of the 1860s through 1880s. He was one of the most prolific producers of stereoscopic views of oilfields in the Oil City and Bradford, Pennsylvania and Olean, New York area. His many oilfield views include scenes of Triumph Hill, Tidioute, Petrolia, and Pithole. Many of his photographs also were used in early twentieth century postcards.
Frank Trost (1868-1944) had the good fortune to photograph early scenes of the Spindletop, Texas oilfield (discovered in 1901), including the famous photograph of the Lucas Gusher. His other Spindletop views include the field’s first oilfield fire and several views of early gushers. Several postcards were also made from Trost photographs.
Jack Nolan (1889-1972) was a pioneer Texas photographer and newspaperman who documented the East Texas oil boom of the early 1930s. Many of Nolan’s photographs were made into real photo postcards (RPPCs). These highly collectible postcards captured the hustle and bustle of the boom towns and oilfield camps, as well as spectacular images of oil gushers and oilfield fires. He also documented the enforcement of martial law in the oilfields by the Texas National Guard. Jack’s postcards are known for their highly descriptive captions.
ABSTRACT: In November 1976, as construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was nearing completion, the Alaska Pipeline Commission retained Terry Lenzner, a Washington, DC attorney, to conduct a study of imprudent cost overruns on the project. Constructed by a consortium of eight oil companies with Alaska North Slope holdings, the 800-mile pipeline connected the Prudhoe Bay oil field with a marine tanker terminal at Valdez. Originally budgeted at $900 million at the start of project planning in 1969, the pipeline’s final cost would top $8 billion, partly as a result of poor planning and project mismanagement by the oil industry. State royalties on the developed crude oil would be calculated on its market value, or the wellhead price minus the transportation costs. With the pipeline owner companies poised to deduct the construction costs from royalty calculations, the State sought to determine which of those costs qualified as excessive and could therefore be excluded from tariff calculations. Billions of dollars were at stake. Lenzner found $1.5 billion of the pipeline construction costs were imprudently incurred. The history of how Lenzner’s Report was written and its lasting legacy to the State of Alaska are discussed in this paper.
ABSTRACT: The Petrolia oil field, the first to be developed in California in the 1860’s, attracted considerable interest and investment among oilmen because of the abundance of oil and gas seeps throughout that region. The ‘Union well’, first producing well drilled in California in 1865, yielded some thirty barrels of high quality oil, but production soon slowed to one barrel per day and the prospect was abandoned. However, over the next half-century exploration and drilling continued throughout the region with little or no success. Although touted as a potential major oil district, the highly deformed Franciscan Complex basement rocks, that were structurally imbricated with Neogene marine strata as part of an actively growing accretionary prism atop the subducting Farallon plate, did not provide adequate reservoirs. Rather, oil and gas seeped to the surface along shear zones. The tectonostratigraphic setting of California’s only oilfield unequivocally located in an active subduction zone precluded its success.
The Role of Geological Survey Technology and Geological Models in the Geographic Dispersion of Prospective Drilling Locations In Brazil, From 1922 to 2010
Felipe Accioly Vieira and Julia Draghi, Agência Nacional do Petróleo Gás e Biocombustíveis – ANP, Avenida Rio Branco nº65 – 16º andar, CEP 20.090 – 004 Rio de Janeiro – RJ – Brasil
ABSTRACT: This study is based on the available data on the geo-referred database of the Brazilian oil and gas government regulatory agency (ANP – Agência Nacional do Petróleo Gás e Biocombustíveis) regarding the position, year of drilling and results of the oil and gas wells drilled in Brazil. The position of the wells were plotted on their sedimentary basins and grouped into five periods (1922-1953, 1954-1961, 1962-1970, 1971-1997, after 1997). For each period some of the most significant changes in the technical or institutional background were compiled and reported. Those maps allowed an interesting discussion on the criteria and methodology used to establish the prospect locations at each period and presented a possible explanation for the very low productivity of drilling in Brazil up to the 1980s as much as the changes in the conceptual basis that led to the successful performance of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century.
Scientific Maturation and Production Modernization; Notes on the Italian Oil Industry in the XIXth Century
Francesco Gerali, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Geography Institute – Social Geography Department
ABSTRACT: Until the end of the XVIIIth century there was not a consistent classification as to exactly what was oil. This lack of a scientific definition was gradually filled thanks to the investigation of many naturalist and chemists such as Pierre Joseph Macquer (1718-1784), George Balthazar Sage (1740-1824), and Richard Kirwan (1733-1812). The last two men provided better working definitions for oil and bitumen. During the first half of the XIXth century European oil production was only a low-volume process, and usually restricted to locations that had natural surface oil and gas seeps. Even with the low production, volumes were sufficient to have refineries operating in various locations, such as the one at Modriez that sent the refined product to Prague for public lighting. In the 1860s, Italy was known as Europe’s Pennsylvania due to its long history as a producer country, even going back to the Medieval Age. However, even with such a nickname, a variety of reasons kept its production low and by 1879 Italy’s domestic oil production was only 402 tons, and it had to import more than 58,000 tons. Why? Italy missed developing a clear policy of mining renovation. The inefficiency of the national mining system affected oil too, thus putting Italy on the list of the countries (e.g., Mexico) that have a subsoil with an real oil potential, but not the means to exploit it. Through the intervention of foreign capital and the application of modern exploration techniques, by the 1890s Italian oil production was up to almost 2200 metric tons, an amount that was destined to grow at the start of the XXth century.
ABSTRACT: Since ancient times, Azerbaijan has been known for its rich oil fields. As confirmed by archaeological findings and numerous archives and literature sources, the oil of Baku was used for economic purposes by people who settled in the Absheron peninsula well before the time of Christ In the 6th century B.C., the army of Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II), first tsar of Achaemenid Empire, used oil from Absheron peninsula as a weapon of fire in his occupation of castles and cities in the region. Oil in large quantities was extracted in Azerbaijan (the location of the Absheron peninsula) much earlier than in the countries of North America, Europe, and Asia. In 1594, the famous well master Allahyar Mamedali Nur oghlu built a multi-level oil well to a depth of more than 35 m in Balakhani which yielded a large quantity of oil. Mohammed Bekran, the Arabian historian, used to say that oil refining in the Absheron had been known even earlier, e.g., at the beginning of the 13th century, and Ioann Lerkh, an employee of the Russian Embassy in Persia in 1733, extensively described the refining process of that epoch in Baku. Nikolay Voskoboynikov constructed his refining plant in 1837 and he was the organizing pioneer of oil refining production in Baku using a new technology. The Baku mining engineer Semyon Kvitko invented a new method of thermal dissolution of oil residues in 1912, but its industrial development did not begin until 1925. In 1912, Kvitko was given the patent #21963 for inventing the process called Generating petrol using high temperature splitting of mazut under pressure without it. Pioneers in the drilling of the first wells were the oil specialists of Baku. Baku residents were also the first to get oil, kerosene, and other petroleum products transported by tankers via seas or tank-wagons via railroads (1877-1883). The world’s first kerosene pipeline, Baku – Batum with an overall distance of 829 versts (1 versta equals to 1066 meters), was built to pump the Baku fuel (April 1897-July 1907). In 1907, the world mass media called this pipeline, the largest kerosene pipeline in the world with the capacity of 60 million poods (36 pounds/pood), a world miracle, and compared it with other technological wonders including the Eiffel Tower in France and the Trans-Siberia highway in Russia. This pipeline helped Russia (later the USSR) to compete successfully in the world oil industry. May of 2005 was the start of Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan oil pipeline which loaded oil at the Sangachal Oil Terminal in Baku. This 1770 km pipeline is the second longest oil pipeline in the world after Russia’s Druzhba. Thus the Baku region has played (and still does) a major role in the development of world’s modern oil and gas industry.
ABSTRACT: The unpredictability of the oil field adventure in the early days of Pennsylvania crude intensified the constant pressure to create or discover new ideas, to invent new technologies, to unlock the new problems. No single idea from the mind of one person had as dramatic an impact as Colonel E. A. L. Roberts’ invention of “torpedo” technology – using explosives, first gunpowder, later nitroglycerin, to blow old wells into new productive life. The dangers of the explosive itself created one set of problems; Roberts’ fierce defense of his patent led to others. The results include many stories, some frightening, some verging on humorous. And the direct corporate descendant of the original Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company – the Otto Cupler Company – is still shooting wells near Titusville today.
ABSTRACT: The benchmark price of crude oil today is determined by the closing price of West Texas intermediate crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange or the price of North Sea Brent crude in London on the International Petroleum Exchange. The price on the New York Mercantile Exchange, NYMEX, and the International Petroleum Exchange, IPE, are different. The result is two sources of pricing for world crude oil are given every trading day. That was not always the case. Starting in 1874, the benchmark price of crude oil for the world was determined on the trading floor of the Oil City Oil Exchange in Oil City, Pennsylvania.
In 1874, the Oil City Oil Exchange was reorganized and located in the Collins House in Oil City. The new Exchange established trading hours, banned curbstone trading, determined margin calls and settlement procedures for disputes. Trading on the floor was done by members only. Twenty-five of the authorized 300 members were brokers. The brokers bought and sold for the public including the large oil refineries.
H. L. Lewis Acceptance Company and J. A. Bostwick & Company were the largest brokers in Oil City and bought for Standard Oil’s refineries. The value of trading of oil certificates on the floor of the Oil City Oil Exchange grew so large that by 1877 Oil City was the third largest trading center of any kind in the country behind only New York and San Francisco. In 1878, a new Oil City Oil Exchange Building was built and occupied in Oil City and was devoted exclusively to oil trading. The first Clearing House associated with an oil exchange was established at this site in 1882. An annex was built in 1883 as an addition to the Oil Exchange Building to provide facilities for the operation of the Clearing House. The early rules and policies for the operation of the Oil City Oil Exchange Clearing House were some of the earliest rules governing commodities trading and futures contracts in America.
H. L. Lewis moved from Oil City to New York in 1884. By 1885, H. L. Lewis would buy most of Standard Oil’s refinery crude needs in New York on the floor of the Consolidated Stock and Petroleum Exchange. As a result, the Oil City Oil Exchange declined in prominence.
ABSTRACT: The Mellon family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania greatly expanded the scope and magnitude of the early energy industry through their financing of the Gulf Oil Corporation, a company that traces its roots back to the Spindletop discovery (near Beaumont, Texas) in 1901. The other Pennsylvania connection with this organization comes from the two men on the ground John H. Galey (1840-1918) and James M. Guffey (1839-1930), both of whom got their start in the oil fields of western Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Company grew to prominence during the twentieth century and had its headquarters at the corner of Grant Street and Seventh Avenue in down town Pittsburgh. In 1984, as a consequence of numerous corporate takeover battles within the petroleum industry, Gulf Oil was merged into Chevron Corporation. At the time, this action was the largest corporate merger in the world.
ABSTRACT: On August 16, 1861, the McClintock No. 1 was kicked down to a depth of 200 feet and brought in its first oil for Brewer Watson & Company. One hundred and fifty years later that same well is still producing Pennsylvania crude oil, making it the oldest continuously producing oil well in the world. And on August 16, 2011, the 150th year of continuous production was celebrated by a group that gathered at the well site on the banks of Oil Creek.