The modern oil industry adheres to an always-present market, with this substance being a prime ingredient for many of the luxuries we enjoy today. Oil has always seemed to be readily available, always existing for our convenience. While there are strategic processes that go into extracting oil, the consumer simply gets to reap the benefits.
However, there was a time in ages past when oil was not an ordinary commodity, and wood was the common denominator when it came to fuel and energy. As the world became more industrialized, coal grew on a global scale, as it was easier to produce than wood and less costly. This substance powered steam trains and steamships, ramping up the transportation industry.
Despite the benefits of coal on society, the time came for the production of yet another energy source that now permeates many areas of our lives: oil.
When Was Oil First Discovered?
The first discovery actually is said to date back to B.C. times in China, crafting oil pipelines out of bamboo. However, its larger means of production and business potential came much later in 1859, when Colonel Drake came upon this substance in Pennsylvania after years of racing to drill wells. As more was discovered in Texas in 1901, the United States knew it had hit the motherload, allowing them to amp up their presence in the global economy. Early discoveries proved successful, as petroleum stood out as a more flexible substance than coal.
As time went on, oil quickly became the preferred energy source, especially in transforming the automobile and transportation industry. Gasoline sales skyrocketed, fueling automobiles, ships, military tanks and airplanes, also proving its assistance in military operations. Gas also began to be used in people’s homes, providing heating and power across the nation.
The First Drilled Oil Well
Although knowledge of potential oil supplies was spread to interested parties, these early engineers and researchers had to find a way to get to the source. Although Poland hand-dug a commercial well, the first drilled oil well found its home in Titusville, Pennsylvania. This successful venture kickstarted the continual race to oil extraction and inspired the formation of the Standard Oil Company. In the years that followed, drilling oil wells became the traditional way of extracting this matter, stretching into all corners of the world and inspiring an ongoing industrial revolution.
The Transition Into the Modern Oil and Gas Era
In the modern era, our societies rely heavily on oil and gas, yet we also realize the effects it can have on the environment. Industry leaders have been called upon by environmentalists to brainstorm alternative methods of production that have less harmful effects on the environment. With activism aside, industry leaders have been racing to implement technological advancements that would lessen their reliance on fossil fuels and focus on more sustainable practices within their extraction efforts.
Over time, these companies have ramped up their extraction efforts and have found more profitable ways to go about business. This led to the invention of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and deepwater production, which are now commonly used. Moving forward, countries continue to examine their means of domestic production so as to become more independent and less reliant on other producers of oil.
Despite global tensions that have recently contributed to rising gas prices, the oil industry still continues to thrive in modern times and has yet to be replaced by another energy source. Now going strong for close to two centuries, oil has certainly made its mark in history books and the modern era. Researchers and industry leaders are intrigued by the potential breakthroughs we could have in this area in the future, many of which will be spurred on by the desire to become more sustainable.
About the Creator
A well-rounded multitalented individual, Jason Dvorin lives and works in Texas, where he's moved from the oil and gas industry to the aerospace sector and is serving as the Managing Director of KSV.