A Visit to The National Petroleum Museum of Romania,
Abstracts – 2013 International Symposium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Petroleum History Institute 2013 Awards
Volume 14, 2013 Abstracts
ABSTRACT: For the annual meeting of 2013, the Petroleum History Institute returned to its home state of Pennsylvania, and to the birthplace of commercial crude oil refining, Pittsburgh. The meeting Hotel, The Omni William Penn, sits only about a block from the site of Samuel Kier’s first refining operation near the corner of 7th Avenue and Grant Street. PHI is indebted to the meeting sponsor, Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism, Oil City, Pennsylvania, for its generous support of our Thursday evening members’ reception. The Friday International Symposium offered a wide range of papers, ranging from oil pioneers of Pittsburgh, to the history of deep drilling into the Oriskany Formation, and the history of petroleum tank trucks. Internationally the participants enjoyed the story of Hardstoft, Britain’s first oil well, the development of oil settlements in South Veracruz, Mexico, in 1865, and we had another look at the Abasand Oils Ltd. And these oral papers were accompanied by three very nice poster presentations, one illustrated the oil industry’s presence in Philatelic Event Covers, another asked, and then answered, the question as to which, Hubbert’s Curve or McCabe’s Pyramid, is the better fit for the recent history of oil production. In the third, Ann Mauer illustrated the career of M. J. Trumble, a California oil man. At the Friday Luncheon, May 17, John Harper, recently retired from the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, presented the Keynote address in which he outlined the history of the well-known Bradford Oil Field. At the Awards Banquet Friday evening, PHI honored Robert D. Gunn, Chairman, Gunn Oil Company of Wichita Falls, Texas; and John J. Amoruso, Amoruso Petroleum Company, Houston, Texas, with the 2013 Colonel Edwin L. Drake Legendary Oilman Award. Our PHI colleagues Carl Heinrich, oil field historian, Reno, Ohio; John Harper, our Keynote speaker, and Alfred Mann, Pittsburgh historian, all received the 2013 Samuel T. Pees Keeper of the Flame Award. The Saturday field trip, after a brief stop at the gravesite of “Uncle Billy” Smith, Drake’s driller, found the group re-visiting both the Ida Tarbell House and Drake Well Museum and Park in Titusville. Both of these, since our last visit in 2009, have undergone renovations, and at the Museum we were seeing a completely different exhibit area. After a lunch shared with the AAPG history field trip group, the PHI bus traveled to the Coolspring Power Museum, Coolspring, Pennsylvania. Here we saw displays of over 250 stationary engines and power systems, most all of which are in working order and several were running during our visit. Our thanks go to Dr. Paul Harvey, the Museum founder, and Mr. Clark Colby for their wonderful hospitality during our all too short visit to the Power Museum. The 2014 meeting is planned for June 19-21, 2014, in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and for 2015, PHI will meet in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
ABSTRACT: Ebenezer Brewer was one of the owners of the land in Titusville, PA on which Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well. He spent the later years of his life in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with his son Dr. Francis Brewer and other partners, Ebenezer Brewer transacted the first oil lease in North America in 1853.
ABSTRACT: The future of the North American petroleum industry was in doubt for some time after the Drake Well event in Pennsylvania in August 1859. Seventy-five small Pennsylvania wells were producing about 8,000 barrels of crude a week at the end of 1860. The petroleum industry was an interesting curiosity only, one that seemed to be no match for the emerging and quickly growing coal oil refining industry. Petroleum could not compete with coal oil on a cost basis; producers in the Oil Region were going broke; no one knew if there was enough petroleum in the ground to make investing in petroleum refining a viable business option. This dismal outlook changed dramatically with the Funk Well’s success on Oil Creek in Venango County in late spring, 1861. The Funk Well was the first well drilled down to the Venango Oil Sand Group’s third sand below the Oil Creek Valley. It flowed 300 barrels a day and set the example for the scores of big flowing wells from the third sand that followed.
History and Geology of the Giant Bradford Oil Field, McKean County, PA and Cattaraugus County, NY
John A. Harper Pennsylvania Geological Survey (Retired), 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4745
ABSTRACT: Bradford oil field encompasses about 85,000 acres in north-central McKean County, PA, and south-central Cattaraugus County, NY. The first well in the area was drilled in 1861, the first producing well in 1864, but the field did not establish true commercial production until 1871 when the Foster Oil Company completed a well just outside of the Pennsylvania town of Bradford in the Bradford Third sand. By mid-1884, Bradford field was the most prolific oil field on the planet, having topped the 100 million barrel (MMBO) mark, which established it as the world’s first giant oil field. Bradford field has since gone on to produce more than 681 million barrels of crude oil. The primary reservoir, the Bradford Third sand, was the most intensively studied oil reservoir in the world during the early and mid-20th century. Averaging 38 feet in thickness, the reservoir consists primarily of medium- to fine-grained greywacke with subordinate interbedded siltstone and shale layers. Gentle folds with fractures enhanced early production by augmenting porosity and permeability and reducing water saturation close to the axes. Bradford field was subjected to extensive waterflooding throughout the 20th century until the 1990s, at which time drilling and production in this watered-out field went into general decline. Industry conducted various tertiary recovery field tests from the mid-1950s to the late-1980s, but they all ended with disappointing or, at best, mixed results. In the 1940s, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey estimated that the original oil in place (OOIP) in Bradford field was 1,075 million barrels. It is often projected that primary and secondary recovery methods will ultimately produce no more than 30 percent of a reservoir’s OOIP, yet the field already had produced about 36 percent of this OOIP by 1950. To date, the field has produced about 63 percent of the original OOIP estimate, so the original estimate must be revised upward. Based on the total production to date, if the 30 percent recovery figure is correct, the field’s OOIP calculates to 2,270 (MMBO), of which 1,589 MMBO remain in the reservoir, an enormous amount that might still be recoverable with higher prices and improved technology.
Historic Oil and Gas Development, Mineral Extraction, and Contemporaneous Water Quality Data in Northeastern Pennsylvania
Damian M. Zampogna, David B. Cornue, Brian K. Bohm, and J. Daniel Arthur ALL Consulting, 1718 S. Cheyenne Ave., Tulsa, OK 74119
ABSTRACT: Northeastern Pennsylvania has experienced environmental and water quality effects that may have been exacerbated by early oil and gas exploration and development techniques and the manner in which old wells were plugged and abandoned. A review of historical records indicates that a significant level of oil and gas activity occurred in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming counties in Pennsylvania from the late 1800s to 1910 and again from 1925 to 1935. This paper explores the existing published groundwater quality data that is readily available and reviews period newspapers and other annals for written accounts that report on relevant groundwater or oil and gas drilling related events in northeastern Pennsylvania (specifically Bradford County) with a particular emphasis on the natural occurrence of methane gas (i.e., natural gas) and groundwater quality. The early practices are not extensively documented and the historical resources available are limited in quantity and scope. Although it is likely that the oil and gas accounts are not fully representative of the geographic breadth and levels of exploration and production activities in Bradford County, they do stand as evidence of oil and gas practices common to the area. This investigation found that historical oil and gas exploration and development techniques may have contributed to (or exacerbated) conditions favorable to the migration of natural gas and other constituents in groundwater. Further, documents were identified that verify the presence of natural gas in groundwater wells within Bradford County. The historical accounts and water quality data demonstrate that the presence of natural gas, elevated chloride, hydrogen sulfide and other parameters often associated with today’s high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling were present in the region’s groundwater decades prior to the current surge in natural gas development.
ABSTRACT: The most recognized United States petroleum postal event was the August 27, 1959 Titusville, Pennsylvania first day ceremonies for a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the petroleum industry. First day covers (FDCs) often bear cachets on the envelopes, designed by professional stamp cover dealers, individual artists, businesses, stamp-collecting clubs, and other organizations. Over one hundred cachets for the 1959 petroleum stamp first day covers have been documented, including those from oil companies, oilfield supply companies, the American Petroleum Institute, a Titusville hotel, and even a coal company. Several companies sent the first day covers to customers with enclosed letters or cards advertising their company and/or celebrating the petroleum industry and the stamp. These companies included Standard Oil of Ohio (SOHIO), Quaker State Oil, Pennzoil, United Refining Company, Standard of New Jersey, Interstate Oil Pipe Line, Universal Cyclops Steel, and Shell Oil. Pennsylvania petroleum philatelic covers commemorate the earlier Diamond Jubilee of Oil (1934), also held in Titusville, and the more recent Oil 150 celebration (2009). Another type of philatelic cover is a first flight cover. First flight covers (FFCs) were carried in an aircraft on the first flight of a new air mail route. Most common in the 1930s and 1940s, these envelopes include a descriptive cachet associated with the flight’s point of origin. Associated with first flight events were airport dedications. Pennsylvania oilfield-related first flight and airport dedication cachets include examples from Oil City, Warren, and Bradford. Pictorial cancellations, authorized by the United States Postal Service, have also been used for Pennsylvania petroleum-related events and anniversaries.
ABSTRACT: When New York began its first state geological survey in 1836, seep petroleum was used in small quantities primarily for medicinal purposes. It would be almost two decades before manufactured coal oil began to replace whale oil for lighting and lubrication, and 23 years before the Drake well in Pennsylvania demonstrated the existence of a much cheaper and more abundant feedstock for a rapidly expanding coal oil refining business. Manufactured coal gas for municipal lighting was a major growth industry, with New York City having had an operating system for more than a decade, and gas from shallow wells along the Lake Erie shoreline was used in a similar manner in Fredonia, NY and the nearby Barcelona lighthouse. The New York Natural History Survey (1836-1843) is commonly recognized as the premier state geological survey of the pre-Civil War era, but its role in conducting the first systematic governmental study of petroleum in North America has been neglected. In the absence of an established oil and gas industry, the search for seeps was inspired not by petroleum exploration, but to facilitate the health spa and salt manufacturing industries, and to assess the possible extension of Pennsylvania’s vast coal resources across the state line. The survey actively documented seeps of all compositions, not just hydrocarbons. Over the time period 1836-1843, the First New York Geological Survey published six annual reports, four regional final reports, and a final mineralogical report. Within these publications were more than 200 descriptions of hydrocarbon occurrence, the vast majority from the pens of either Lewis Beck or James Hall. Oil was documented at seeps or quarries from at least 22 different locations in eight different counties. Carburetted hydrogen gas was noted from at least 38 seeps in 14 counties and from nine wells in five of those counties. Despite the presence of hydrocarbons across a broad area, New York has been a minor participant in the historical petroleum industry. During the 1870s and 1880s, exploration along the New York-Pennsylvania border resulted in development of the Bradford field, the first giant oil field in the United States, but the regional prospective area was limited due to northward termination of the Devonian sandstone reservoirs. Many hydrocarbon occurrences described by the New York Natural History Survey originated in bituminous shales of Ordovician through Devonian age. Although not of major economic significance at the time, they documented the bituminous character of shale formations such as Marcellus and Utica, and foretold the potential for modern programs to develop these resource plays.
ABSTRACT: As early as 1906, fishermen reported gas bubbling in the offshore waters of Tabbs Bay in eastern Harris County, Texas. Just onshore, there were gas seeps and paraffin beds. L.P. Barrett, a geologist with the Rio Bravo Oil Company, drew perhaps the first map of the Goose Creek area in 1907, outlining an “area of probable production,” that included both onshore and offshore acreage. His outline proved to be very close to the oilfield’s productive area. The Goose Creek Production Company drilled wells in the onshore area in 1908. One well tested 800 barrels of oil per day from a depth of 1,600 feet, but the rate quickly declined. More wells were drilled and completed during 1909-1916, but the yearly oil production never exceeded 120,000 barrels. In 1916, John Gaillard contracted the drilling of a well on his property, just 500 feet west of the 1908 oil well. His well blew in on August 23, 1916 as an 8,100 barrel of oil per day (BOPD) gusher from a depth of 2,017 feet. The well’s rate dropped to 300 barrels of oil per day within two months, but the oil boom had begun. Additional drilling brought the field’s rate up to 5,000 BOPD by the end of 1916 and the total production for that year was approximately 400,000 barrels of oil. With increased drilling, the field’s 1917 production soared to 7.3 million barrels of oil. In 1918, Humble Oil and Gulf Production companies drilled the first offshore wells at Goose Creek. This was the first offshore drilling in the state of Texas. To support the war effort, the Goose Creek oil field produced approximately 9 million barrels of oil in 1918, the peak production year for the field. In mid-1918, Humble Oil began purchasing land in the area for the construction of an oil refinery. The refinery began operations in 1919, employing 100 workers and processing 10,000 BOPD. Today the ExxonMobil Baytown area, which includes the refinery, is the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. Goose Creek oil field is also known as the site of perhaps the earliest study, in 1926, relating land subsidence to the removal of oil and water from the subsurface. In 1969, John Wayne’s role as Chance Buckman, in Hellfighters, was patterned after the real-life oilfield firefighter, Paul “Red” Adair (1915-2004). Several scenes from the movie were filmed in and around Goose Creek. Goose Creek oil field has produced over 125 million barrels of oil and is still producing today.
ABSTRACT: The delayed discovery of oil in North Dakota resulted from remoteness, environment, and economic disadvantage, three of the six themes of historian Elwyn B. Robinson. Initially, lacking outside capital, from 1917 through 1935 the local explorers turned to their communities to raise the capital necessary to begin the search for oil. As a result a complex group united to raise the capital necessary, but did not discover oil.
Drilling into the Archives for Oil and Gas Collections: Holdings of The American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
Ginny Kilander American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3924 Laramie, WY 82071
ABSTRACT: The American Heritage Center (AHC) is the University of Wyoming’s repository of manuscript collections, rare books, and the university archives. Open to the public and featuring more than 3000 archival collections, many with national and international importance, the holdings include more than five-hundred collections related to economic geology, ranging from personal papers to corporate records and including oil, gas, and mining related topics. This paper introduces the AHC and highlights some of the Center’s prominent collections in these subjects, describes the grant programs available to our researchers, and provides an overview of how to identify and locate these collections including practical information for conducting on-site research, using online resources, and coordinating with the reference department long-distance for those patrons unable to visit on-site. The Center’s two recent Wyoming oral history programs, one to document the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the natural gas boom in Sublette County, and a second to document the potential oil boom in communities within the Niobrara Shale Formation, are also introduced.
ABSTRACT: In Canada’s early years, important hydrocarbon discoveries occurred almost independently of settlement. In the frontiers, of course, that pattern continues. The relationship between Norman Wells and Alberta’s post-war discovery at Leduc is one example of a pattern that turns on its head the American model of petroleum development. Remote exploration has always played a critical role in our industry’s development. It would be easy to think of Canada’s petroleum industry as one that began in the south, grew wealthy, then began exploring and developing more remote lands. That is indeed a realistic caricature of the US industry, but in Canada the story was different. The most important oil discovery prior to Leduc actually took place just south of the Arctic Circle. In a drama worthy of the great white north, that discovery led directly to the creation of Canada’s modern petroleum industry.
Hardstoft – Britain’s First Oil Field
Craig, J., Eni Exploration & Production Division, Via Emilia 1, 20097 San Donato Milanese, Italy Gluyas, J., Department of Earth Science, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, U.K. Laing, C., Laing Engineering and Training Services Ltd., 63 Ness Circle, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, AB41 9BR, U.K. Schofield, P., Oilwell Nurseries, Chesterfield Rd., Tibshelf, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 5NP, U.K.
ABSTRACT: In 1911, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and he took the strategic, but controversial, decision to power the Royal Navy’s ships with oil and phase out the use of coal, in order to improve the performance of the fleet. It worked, and during the First World War the Royal Navy outperformed their German counterparts, but it meant that Britain was dependent on importing oil from its colonies and dependencies, with Burma, Trinidad and Persia supplying the bulk. This made Britain vulnerable, and as a consequence, a search for an indigenous oil supply was begun. In 1915, the British Government contracted S. Pearsons and Sons to undertake a study of domestic oil prospectivity and, subsequently, to drill 11 wells in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Scotland. Little information exists as to why the particular locations were chosen although it is easy to infer that a combination of petroleum seeps and geological structure guided these early explorers. The first well was drilled at Hardstoft in the parish of Tibshelf, in the County of Derbyshire where oil was struck in the Hardstoft No. 1 well on the 27th May 1919. Success was also had at D’Arcy Farm near to Dalkeith in the Lothians of Scotland. Few data are available for either of these wells and those that do exist are of dubious quality and open to differing interpretation. Hardstoft No.1 was the first successful oil exploration well ever drilled in the U.K. It found light oil in a fractured sandy limestone unit at the top of the Lower Carboniferous Limestone succession at a depth of 3,070 ft. The well was completed and produced about 7 bbl/day for many years, before a subsequent work-over doubled the production rate to about 14 bbl/day. Two more wells were drilled on the Hardstoft Anticline in the 1920s, but no additional oil production was obtained, although some gas was found at a higher level in sandstones within the Coal Measures succession. The gas was used to power the site for several years. Total oil production from the Hardstoft No. 1 well between 1920 and 1946 was about 29,000 bbl. The aim of this paper is to tell the story of Britain’s first oil well, its subsequent production and attempts at continued development. We also re-examine the history from a modern perspective, report on new analyses, both of the oil and of the trap, and evaluate the potential for re-development.
The Unknown Nobel Prize in Baku*
Mir-Yusif Mir-Babayev Azerbaijan Technical University, Fizuli str., house 53, flat 49, AZ1014, Baku, Azerbaijan Bahram Atabeyli Caucasus University in Baku, Sumqayit Road 16-km Khirdalan, AZ0101,Baku, Azerbaijan * This paper was presented at the Nobel Brothers’ 2nd International Research-Innovative Conference, held in Stockholm, Sweden, September 13-14, 2013 and will be included in the Proceedings Volume (In-Press); and portions were excerpted from Concise History of Azerbaijani Oil, by Mir-Yusif Mir-Babayev, 2008, SOCAR, Baku, 367 p.
ABSTRACT: It is known, that the Nobel Prizes are the weightiest all over the world, not only in terms of their monetary reward (there are also other prizes with large monetary premiums, e.g., the German prize of Karpinsky or the American Premium founded by the company Ford Motors Co.), but also the civil honour that they bistow on the recipients. These prizes are awarded to the world’s most outstanding personalities and recognize the scientific and literary-political achievements of winners whose work, as a whole, has brought huge advantages to mankind. They serve to inspire possible future candidates to unique performances, which ultimately facilitate the world’s scientific progress. The Nobel prizes that most commonly come to mind are those associated with Alfred Nobel, but these are not the only Nobel prizes that have been awarded. The present article will present the story of the little-known Nobel Prize founded in Baku (Russia) and given in the honour of Emanuel Nobel (1859-1932). Also mention will be made of another prize in Russia named for Ludwig Nobel beginning in 1898. All of these prizes, either directly or indirectly, were financed by profits from the oil and gas industry. Thesiger And The Oilmen: A Dilemma Of Oil Exploration In Southern Arabia, 1930–1955 Michael Quentin Morton ABSTRACT: Wilfred Thesiger (1910–2003) was one of the most famous explorers of the Arabian Peninsula. In the latter half of the 1940s, he twice crossed the great Arabian desert, the Rub al-Khali (“Empty Quarter”), and explored inner Oman. These camel-borne expeditions were undertaken in conditions of great hardship and even danger. He was also renowned for his aversion to oil companies, which he feared would undermine the bedouin way of life. His views were outlined in his own writings, primarily his book, Arabian Sands, in which he predicted that the bedouin would abandon their traditional lifestyle to earn their living working in the oil camps. Thesiger’s travels encroached on a volatile tribal situation in central Oman and conflicted with the aims of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) to open up the region to oil exploration. This article considers the interaction between explorers of the desert and explorers for oil. At its heart lies a dilemma facing all explorers of uncharted lands: how to record and preserve the traditional ways of indigenous people without contributing to the forces of change that threaten their existence. In the end, Thesiger was forced to decide between abandoning his travels or compromising his ideals by seeking financial help from IPC. Subsequently, rapid oil development came to south-eastern Arabia with discoveries in Abu Dhabi and Oman, transforming traditional lifestyles and leaving Thesiger in later life to reflect on the changes that the new wealth had brought.
Nobel Brothers’ 2nd International Research-Innovative Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, September 13-14, 2013
William R. Brice, University of Pittsburgh/Johnstown, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15904 Mir-Yusif Mir-Babayev, Azerbaijan Technical University, Fizuli str., house 53, flat 49, AZ1014, Baku, Azerbaijan Bahram Atabeyli, Caucasus University in Baku, Sumqayit Road 16-km Khirdalan, AZ0101, Baku, Azerbaijan
ABSTRACT: September 13-14, 2013, the 2nd Nobel Brothers’ International Research-Innovative Conference convened at the Berns Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. The first Conference was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, October 22-23, 2012. The purpose of the Conference, according to the organizers, “…is to increase the understanding of successful innovations in the technical field as well as in the social and socioeconomic fields. …how to build sustainable innovative systems;…” The major historical focus was the “Nobel Brothers’ Oil Producing Company” and its role in developing the Baku Oil Industry. Some presentations were related to contemporary themes and sustainability, and several papers related to historical topics, especially relating to the history of the Nobel Brothers’ Company and the times in which it operated. In these the focus was to derive consequences from the historical events/process that have lessons for, or parallels with, today’s society. The organizers for this meeting were the Centre for Business History in Stockholm and the Azerbaijan-Scandinavian Cooperation.