History of Oil

         Crude Oil: Key Historical Events

          Fundamentals of Oil
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               Completing the Well
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               Oil Production/Secondary Recovery
               Waterflooding in the Illinois Basin
               Operation/Sale of Oil

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Crude Oil: Key Historical Events

Here is a look at some key historical events in the crude oil market, then move on to present issues affecting energy prices.

Crude Oil: Key Historical Events
1859 In Titusville, Pennsylvania, the first oil well is discovered.
1861-65 The U.S. Civil War
1882 Standard Oil Trust is formed.
1901 Discovery of oil at Spindletop field: Oil is struck in the Panhandle of Texas, and Sun, Texaco and Gulf Oil Corp. are subsequently formed.
1903 The Wright brothers' first air flight takes place.
1907 First drive-in gasoline station opens in St. Louis, Missouri, gateway to the West.
1913 William Meriam Burton invents thermal cracking process for refining crude oil. The Burton process employed heat and high pressures To improve the yield of gasoline from crude oil.
1914-1918 World War I
1929 U.S. stock market collapses.
1932 Oil is discovered in Bahrain.
1933 Standard Oil of California wins access to Saudi Arabia.
1938 Oil is discovered in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
1939 World War II: In the oil industry, this is a big event. It's the first time we go to war with mechanized infantry, and we rely on hydrocarbon to defeat the Axis powers.
1940 The U.S. puts restraints on gasoline shipments to Japan.
1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.
1945 World War II ends.
1952 First Holiday Inn motel opens.
1955 First McDonald's drive-through opens.
1960 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) forms in Baghdad.
1965 Vietnam War build-up occurs.
1967 The Suez Canal, the crude oil shipping route from the Persian Gulf to Europe, is closed.
1968 Oil is discovered in Alaska's North Slope.
1969 Oil is discovered in the North Sea.
1973 The Alaskan pipeline is approved. Watergate follows, and crude oil prices jump in four months (September to December) from $2.90 to $11.65 a barrel.
1975 Automobile fuel efficiency standards were established in the U.S., and the first North Sea product yield comes ashore.
1979 The Shah of Iran is forced into exile. The Ayatollah Khomeini takes power, and U.S. hostages are taken.
1981 Oil skyrockets to $34 a barrel from $13.
1982 OPEC's first quota is established.
1983 OPEC cuts oil price to $29 a barrel.
1983 NYMEX launches first crude oil contract.

By the mid-1980s, the U.S. had decided that it would not be held over a barrel by other nations any longer. The oil industry took a lesson from the agricultural industry. Companies learned about hedging. They learned about risk. NYMEX, which created the first crude oil futures contract, afforded the opportunity for the industry to safeguard itself. With the diversification of the product source, the U.S. no longer has to rely strictly on the Middle East as the source of oil.

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