A Short History of Oil and Gas

Oil and gas energy has improved living standards, making it worth knowing the history of oil and gas (and their equipment). In the past, throughout the agrarian era, people burned wood for cooking and warmth. Wood remained the primary source of energy for many years. The invention of the modern steam engine announced the transition to an industrial economy.

So how did oil and gas get discovered? As industrialization was taking over, coal became the preferred source of energy. Coal generates four times as much energy as wood. But due to new technologies and environmental concerns in the 20th century, society shifted from coal to oil and gas.

For many decades, oil and gas have hastened global industrialization. Learn the history of oil and gas in the world. #BOPProducts Click To Tweet

Now, let’s look at how the oil got discovered and its production in the United States.

The Discovery of Oil

In 600 B.C, the first oil was discovered by the Chinese and transported through bamboo pipelines. Notably, Colonel Drake led the discovery of oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. The Spindletop well in Texas set the stage for a new oil economy in 1901.

Petroleum became more flexible and adaptable than coal. Also, kerosene from crude oil offered a reliable and relatively cheaper alternative to whale oil and “coal-oils” for fueling lamps. Oil became the preferred energy source globally in the 20th century. 

Oil in the United States

John D. Rockefeller is one of the most prominent people who heralded the development of the oil industry in the United States. He became the first “baron” in the industry after forming Standard Oil Company, which controlled 90% of America’s refining capacity by 1879.

The 1901 discovery of Texas’ Spindletop field finally spawned companies like Texaco, Gulf Oil, and others. Currently, ExxonMobil is the successor of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. The price of oil in the U.S. remains fixed at that of the Gulf of Mexico.

Major Oil Producing Countries

Many countries in the Middle East and South America produce oil and gas and control global oil and gas pricing. In 1960, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran founded the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to oversee oil production.

OPEC negotiates with the Integrated Oil Companies (IOCs) on matters of oil production and oil prices. Currently, OPEC members include Angola, Algeria, Iran, Ecuador, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Venezuela, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates.

Oil Fields Now

Now that you know the history of oil and gas, you can tell how the two energy sources have transformed many people’s lives globally. Today, Saudi Arabia has the majority of OPEC oil reserves. Top oil fields in the United States are in Texas, including Permian and Eagle Ford Shale fields.

Contact us to learn more about the history of oil and gas in the world.