The 1800s were a period of tremendous change and rapid industrialization. The steel and iron industry created new construction materials and the railroads were the perfect way to transport them. Then the discovery of oil provided a new source of fuel.
The Spindletop geyser in 1901 drove huge growth in the oil industry and within just a year, there were more than 1,500 oil companies. Soon, oil became the dominant fuel and an important part of our nation’s economy.
Many explorers in early America encountered petroleum deposits in some form or another. It has been recorded that oil slicks were noted in California as early as the 16th century. Settlers used oil in a number of ways. Some used oil as an illuminate for medicine, others used it for lubrication to grease their tools and wagon wheels. Even before the industrial revolution began, some settlers make kerosene from shale to fuel their lamps.
At first, it was the people with money who enjoyed the many uses of oil. But soon enough, oil production and refining increased and the prices dropped. When the prices dropped, a panic in the industry led to a Standard Oil alliance in 1871. Standard had become one of the leaders in the oil industry. This was the company that saw pipelines as being a cheap and efficient way to transport their product. The Alliance led to even more advances in the industry.
Shale, your oil and gas magazine, bets many of you didn’t realize how fascinating oil history is. Here are a few more facts that everybody should know about oil.
Oil is Shockingly Important Worldwide
For over 100 years, the world has been developing with oil as its lifeblood. Although oil accounts for only 2.5 percent of the world GDP, it is the primary energy supply for over 1/3 of the population. If you think about it, oil and gas powers the vast majority of all transportation. In turn, transportation accounts for about 1/6th of the world GDP. Since you can’t move anything anywhere without oil and gas, it is critical in our modern economy.
There isn’t a doubt that the modern world would collapse in just a matter of months if the oil would stop flowing. On the positive side, since you can’t operate an effective military without oil and gas, there would be less war, in theory at least. But that wouldn’t matter because world agriculture would collapse and we would probably all starve anyway.
You Really Have No Idea How Big Oil Is
Gas distribution lines in America can stretch from here to the moon and back eight times. There are literally millions and millions of miles of pipeline that distributes crude oil, refined products and natural gas. In addition to all of the pipelines, about 40 percent of all seaborne cargo is oil. There is more oil on the seas than fish in them.
You Cannot Disrupt the Oil Industry
Sure, there are electric cars and we are making some pretty impressive strides in wind and solar power, but these renewable sources of energy have only increased globally by less than one percent over the last 35 years. To put this bluntly; nothing can stop oil. The difference between oil and, say, solar power is like the difference between a kid on a tricycle and a Formula 1 race car driven by a professional race car driver.
So we apologize to anybody who thinks that another source of energy is growing enough to take over oil and gas.
Oil Makes a Lot of People Money
The domino effect of oil is huge and it’s not just the producers of oil who are making money. Anybody who is part of the industry stands to make a good living. In fact, even people who aren’t in the oil and gas industry make money because of it.
Nations that failed to secure a piece of the oil pie discovered it led to a very poor economy and in some cases, a collapse. Cheap and abundant energy, like oil and gas, lifts nations from poverty and has everyone sharing in the wealth.
The Oil Industry is Quite Safe
Despite all of the explosions and fires you see on oil rigs on television shows and in movies, oil rigs are actually quite safe. To be sure, there are some hazardous activities at the drill site, but they are exceptionally well-managed. Back in the day, it was pretty dangerous working on an oil rig, but times have drastically changed.
Accident rates on oil rigs have dropped steadily the last 30 years and the oil industry is now as safe as many regular occupations. Statistically, you are actually safer working on an oil rig than you are driving your car around as a real estate agent going to a showing.
For the latest in oil and gas news, read Shale Oil and Gas magazine.