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History of the World Petroleum Industry (Key Dates)

A chronological summary of some of the key events impacting the evolution of the world petroleum industry, significant world events that had a major impact on the oil industry are indicated in dark red.

References are listed at the end of the summary. A search of keywords using a search engine will provide further information. Your feedback regarding errors or omissions is welcome!

Go to 2012

6th Century BC - The army of Kir II, first shah of Achaemenid Empire ( present - Iran), used Absheron oil in weapons of fire to invade castles and cities. (Note: much of the historic information relating to the early history in the Middle East has been provided by Mir-Yusif Mir-Babayev, Professor of Azerbaijan Technical University in Baku ).

450BC - Herodotus described oil pits near Babylon

325BC - Alexander the Great used flaming torches of petroleum products to scare his enemies

c100AD - Plutarch described oil bubbling from the ground near Kirkuk in present day Iraq

347AD - Chinese reported to have drilled holes in ground using bamboo to extract oil

8th Century AD - Baku people used ground impregnated with oil for heating because of absence of wood

9th Century AD - Arabian traveler Baladzori (Al-Belazuri Ahmed) describes in "The Conquest of the countries" that political and economic life on Absheron had been long connected with oil. (Published in English "The origins of the Islamic state", by P.K. Hitti and F.C. Murgotten, v.1-2, N.Y.-L., 1916-1924).

10th Century AD - Arabian traveler Abu-Dulaf visits and describes Absheron's oil sources; and noted that there were two major sources - black and white oil. White oil was exported to Iran, Iraq and India as a valuble article

12th Century AD - A unique medicinal oil from the Naftalan (Azerbaijan region), was used for curing various health problems. It was carried in wineskins through the territory of modern Georgia to the Black Sea shores and from there to other countries of the world.

1273 - Marco Polo recorded visiting the Persian city of Baku, on the shores of the Caspian Sea in modern Azerbaijan, he saw oil being collected from seeps for use in medicine and lighting

1500s - Oil from seeps in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland was burned in street lamps to provide light in the Polish town of Krosno.

1568 - Under the direction of Englishmen Thomas Bannister and Jeffrey Duckett, Moscow Company agents visited Azerbaijan and wrote about Baku oil (the Moscow Company was founded in London in 1555).

1594 - A stone dated 1594 and signed by Allahyar Mahammad Nurogly is found in an oil well (kolodets) 35 metres deep in Baku (in settlement Balakhani); this well is dug by hand.

1618 - Itallian traveller Pietro Della Valle spoke about great amounts of black oil around Baku; it was cheap and brought lots of income to the shah every year.

1637 - Baku oil is marked as a 'terrible weapon by ignition' in a "List of gun stocks' of Moscow state.

1647 - Turkish traveller Evliya Chelebi examines and thoroughly describes Baku oil fields while in Baku. According to his data, Baku oil brought 7000 tumans of annual income to Shah's treasury and was exported to Persia, Central Asia, Turkey and India.

1666 - Dutch sailor and traveller Jan Struys (he was taken prisoner in Iran and used to visit this place often with the merchant who owned him - he even drew the Caspian sea map) visited Azerbaijan and wrote in his work called "Journey" that there were wells built with stones inside and with white and black oil coming to the surface on Besh Barmag mountain (now - in Siazan region of Azerbaijan).

1723 - Peter the Great (1672-1725) issues special decrees about the order of oil extraction; in a letter to major-general Michael Matyushkin, who governed Baku, he demanded sending "one thousand poods of white oil or as much as possible, and to look for increase in production". Persian campaign (1722-1723) of Peter I resulted in Baku and Derbent (on the East coast of Caspian) being annexed to Russia.

1739 - Academician I.V. Veytbreht publishes the treatise "About the oil", which contains much data about Absheron oil.

1741 - Director of English-Russian trading company Ioannas Hanway investigated condition of Baku oilfields. In 1754 he published "Historical essay about English trade in Caspian Sea" in London.

1771 - Academician Samuil Gmelin (1745-1774) visits Baku and confirms that white oil was sublimated for production of kerosene in Surakhani and describes the technique of well's oil production.

1781 - Count Marko Voynovich (1750-1807), the chief of the Caspian expedition, finds the signs of oil and gas on the bottom of the Caspian Sea near the island Zhiloy (Chilov), near the Absheron peninsula. In 1781-1782 Voynovich M.I. charted a detailed map of Eastern part of the Caspian Sea.

1796 - Marshal von Frederick Bibershtein (1768-1826) notes that "the Absheron peninsula contains an inexhaustible stock of oil".

1836 - For the first time, academician G.I. Gessi researched Absheron natural associated gas from a scientific point of view and defined its composition.

1801 - First coal powered steam engine

1803 - Offshore oil extraction reported in Bibi-Heybat Bay of the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan) from two hand-dug wells 18 and 30 meters away from the shoreline. The first offshore oil field ceased existence in 1825 when a huge storm ravaged all wells in the Caspian

1807 - Streets of London lit by coal oil

1814 - One of the first wells that produced oil which was marketed was drilled near Marietta, Ohio, in 1814 (Hildreth 1833, p. 64). Well was actually drilled for salt water, the oil was a useless by-product which often spoiled the well. This Ohio well was almost 500 feet deep and produced about a barrel or so of oil per week, which was worth about 50 - 75 cents/gallon.*

1818 - In southeastern Kentucky another salt well produced oil. It was known as the "Beatty Well," named after the owner of the land on which it was drilled (Shepherd 1988). The site is on the banks of the South Fork of the Cumberland River, and the well produced upwards of 100 barrels/day according to some reports. By 1820, oil from this well was being shipped to Europe as well as several other southern states. Thus the Beatty Well seems to be the first drilled well which produced commercial oil in North America.*

1816 - Start of the US manufactured gas industry - the Gas Light Company of Baltimore

1825 - First commercial natural gas production and use in Fredonia, New York - well drilled to 27' by William Aaron Hart, gas piped through hollow logs to adjacent houses

1837 - Autun, France - first attempts to mine oil shale, mines were closed in 1957

1846 - Baku the first ever well drilled with percussion tools to a depth of 21 metres for oil exploration

1849 - Abraham Gesner developed a method for distilling kerosene from crude oil

1857 - Development of the kerosene lamp - provided clean burning light

1857 - Preston Barmore drilled two gaswells on Canadaway Creek near Fredonia, NY - used an 8 pound charge of gunpowder at a depth of 122' to 'frack' the well - the first record of artificial fracturing

1857 - First drilling of oil wells at Bend, northeast of Bucharest, on the Romanian side of the Carpathians.

1858 - First oil well in North America at Oil Springs in Ontario, Canada

1859 - Col. Edwin Drake struck oil 69ft below the surface of the ground in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

1861 - First recorded shipping of oil between countries - from Pennsylvania to London on the sailing ship 'Elizabeth Watts'

1862 - de Rochas of France patented the four stroke engine

1863 - J.D.Rockefeller founded an oil refining company in Cleveland

1870 - J.D.Rockerfeller formed Standard Oil (Ohio).- controlled 10% of American oil refining

1872 - Rockerfeller took over 22 of his competitors (The Cleveland Massacre) to increase Standard Oil share of market to 25%

1877 - Rockerfeller controlled 90% of American refining

1878 - First oil drilling at Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

1879 - Thomas Edison invents the electric light bulb

1882 - Standard Oil Trust formed

1885 - Oil discovered in Sumatra by Royal Dutch

1892 - Standard Oil Company of Ohio broken up by Federal Regulators

1893 - First well drilled in Los Angeles

1895 - Extraction of bitumen from bituminous sand using hot water at Carpenteria, California

1895 - John D. Rockerfeller retired

1895 - Invention of combustion engine

1896 - Henry Ford's first motor car


1901 - Spindletop gusher, blew out on January 10, 1901 near Beaumont in East Texas, drilled by Captain Anthony Lucas it heralded the birth of the Texas oil industry - Gulf and Texaco.

1902 - Ida Tarbell begins campaign against the monopoly and questionable practices of the Standard Oil Trust - published a series of articles in McClure's Magazine (1902-1904)

1903 - Wright Brothers first flight

1903 - Ford Motor Company founded

1905 - Baku oilfields set on fire during Russian Revolution

1906 - Federal Government filed suit against Standard Oil under the Antitrust Act.

1907 - Shell (British) and Royal Dutch merged to form Royal Dutch Shell

1908 - Oil discovered in Persia, Anglo Persian Oil company formed (Later BP)

1910 - First oil discovery in Mexico at Tampico on the Gulf Coast

1910 - US Congress authorised legislation to set aside land as Naval Petroleum Reserves.

1910 - Lakeview gusher blew out near Los Angeles, CA, reportedly at rates of >100,000BOPD with a total of 9,000,000 Bbls oil released before the well was brought under control

1911 - Break up of Standard Oil Trust orderd by Supreme Court* (See end for further detail)

1912 - Land in California (Elk Hills and Buena Vista Hills) as Naval Petroleum Reserves No. 1 & 2.

1914-1918 - World War I, the first conflict where control of oil supply really mattered - needed for tanks, ships and planes. British Forces captured Baghdad in 1917.

1915 - Teapot Dome Wyoming established as Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3

1916 - Naval Oil Shale Reserves established in Colorado and Utah


1921 - First experiment of using seismic waves to image the subsrface - at Vines Branch in south central Oklahoma by William Haseman, Clarence Karcher, Irvine Perrine and Daniel Ohern

1924 - Teapot Dome scandal - political manipulation in providing 'friends' with the right to develop the US Naval Oil Reserves resulted in the resignation of the Secretary of the Interior (Albert Fall) and Secretary of the Navy (Edwin Denby).

1929 - Start of Great Depression


1930 - East Texas Oilfield discovered by 'Dad' Joiner

1931 - Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger sucessfully identify presence of oil in a formation by measuring resistivity

1932 - Oil discovered in Bahrain

1933 - Saudi Arabia granted oil concessions to Standard of California - became California Arabian Standard Oil Company (Casoc)

1934 - The first floating drilling rig reported in the Caspian Sea

1933 - The Texas Company introduced the first submersible drilling barge which was used in the estuaries (Lake Pelto) Louisiana

1936 - Texaco took a 50% share in Casoc

1938 - Mexico nationalizes foreign oil companies, all assets placed under the control of Pemex

1938 - Oil discoverd in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

1939-1945 - World War II - control of oil supply from Baku and Middle East played a huge role in the events of the war and the ultimate victory of the allies. Cutting off the oil supply considerably weakened Japan in the latter part of the war.


1941 - An inclined (slanted) well to the depth of 2000 metres was drilled by drilling master Aga Neymatulla's team with turbodrill method on Bayil settlement (near Baku).

1942 - Japan invaded Indonesia for access to their oil reserves

1944 - Casoc became Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company)

1947 - Kerr McGee brings in the first producing oil well on the Outer Continental Shelf off Louisiana

1948 - Ghawar Field discovered in Saudi Arabia - the largest conventional oil field in the world (about 80 billion barrels)

1949 - First offshore oil drilling at Oil Rocks (Neft Dashlari) in the Caspian Sea off Azerbaijan eventually resulted in a city built on pylons


1950 - Aramco agreement with Saudi Arabia

1951 - Anglo Iranian Oil Company nationalized

1954 - Anglo-Persian Oil Company renamed British Petroleum

1955 - Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal

1956 - Suez Crisis - Britain, France and Israel attempted to regain control of Suez Canal

1956 - Oil discovered in Algeria and Nigeria

1959 - Natural gas discovered in Groningen Field, Netherlands

1959 - Arab Oil Congress in Cairo - a 'gentleman's agreement' for oil producing countries to have a greater influence on oil production and marketing.


1960 - OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) founded in Baghdad - Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. *See end for current member countries.

1964 - Start-up of Colony Oil Shale project in Colorado, USA - to extract oil from immature source rocks

1967 - Six day War between Israel and the Arab world, Suez Canal closed

1967 - Great Canadian Oil Sands Ltd (later Suncor) began production of tar sands north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - first commercial production of the largest oil resource in the world.

1968 - Oil discovered on North slope of Alaska

1969 - Qaddafi seizes power in Libya

1969 - Santa Barbara oil spill, 6 miles offshore from Summerland, California. Created major backlash against industry.

1969 - Oil discovered in North Sea


1971 - Libya, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iraq negotiate price increase from $2.55 to $3.45 per barrel

1971 - OPEC Countries begin nationalising oil assets. - Libya nationalizes BP concession

1971 - US oil production peaked

1972 - Iraq nationalizes Iraq Petroleum Concession

1973 - Iran nationalizes oil assets

1973 - Saudi Governement acquired a 25% interest in Aaramco

1973 - Yom Kippur War - Egypt and Syria attacked Israel

1973 - Arab oil embargo on oil exports to the US for siding with Israel in the Yom Kippur War - oil prices rise from $2.90 to $11.65.

1974 - (March) Arab oil embargo on oil exports to the US lifted

1975 - Venezuelan oil industry nationalised

1975 - First oil production from North Sea

1975 - Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) authorised in US - to store an emergency supply of oil in salt domes

1976 - Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve, California opened for commercial production

1977 - Alaska oil pipeline completed

1978 - Amoco Cadiz runs aground off French Coast

1978 – Natural Gas Policy Act in United States – provided incentives or de-controlled pricing for certain types of gas deemed to be high cost – including ‘Tight Gas’

1979 - First significant coalbed methane drilling by Amoco in San Juan Basin, USA

1979 - Shah of Iran deposed, Ayatollah Khomeini takes power

1979 - Three Mile Island - Nuclear power plant accident

1979 - Saddam Hussein becomes President of Iraq

1979 - (June) Blowout at Ixtoc 1 in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico - brought under control in March 1980 - largest single oil spill

1979 - November - Iran takes US hostages

1979-1981 - Oil prices rise from $13.00 to $34.00


1980 - Saudis bought out the balance of Aramco from US oil companies

1980 – Crude Oil Windfall Profits Act in United States – included an unconventional gas tax credit – provided tax credit when oil prices were low to reduce the chance of gas consumers switching to oil

1980 - Iraq launches war against Iran

1982 - OPEC's first quotas

1982 - Exxon shuts down Colony project in Colorado - intended to extract oil from immature oil shale

1984 - Gulf Oil acquired by Chevron after a bidding war with Arco

1986 - Oil prices collapse

1986 - Chernobyl - Nuclear power plant accident

1986 - 87 - "Tanker War" between Iran and Iraq - destroying oil tankers in Persian Gulf

1987 - Naval Oil Shale Reserve transferred to the Ute Indians.

1988 - Cease fire in Iran-Iraq War

1988 - July 6 - Explosion at Piper Alpha North Sea oil and gas production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd. The explosion and resulting fire destroyed the platform, killing 167 men, with only 59 survivors. At the time of the disaster the platform accounted for approximately ten percent of North Sea oil and gas production, and was the worst offshore oil disaster in terms of lives lost and industry impact.

1989 - March - Exxon Valdez aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska


1990 - August - Iraq invades Kuwait, UN embargo on Iraq

1991 - January - Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait oilfields set alight

1991 - November - Soviet Union collapses

1995 - UN resolution to allow partial resumption of Iraq oil exports in "oil for food" deal.

1997 - Qatar inaugurates the world's first significant liquid natural gas (LNG) exporting facility

1997 - Kyoto Agreement proposed to limit greenhouse gases

1998 - Asian economic crisis

1998 - 50 year moratorium on mining and oil exploration in Antarctica approved

1998 - Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve sold to Occidental Petroleum for $3.65 billion.

1998 - BP announces plans to acquire Amoco for $48.2 billion

1998 - Exxon to acquire Mobil for $75.4 billion

1999 - Atlantic Richfield (Arco) acquired by BPAmoco

1999 - US Sanctions against Libya lifted

1999 - Total Fina and Elf Aquitaine agree to merge

1999 - Panama Canal reverts to Panamanian authority

1999 - Y2K has the world holding it's breath - quickly turns to a yawn!


2001 - September 11th - Terrorist attacks on the United States

2002 - Construction started on Bosphorus bypass pipeline bringing oil from Baku to the Mediterranean

2002 - Conoco and Phillips merged to form ConocoPhillips.

2002 - US threatens invasion of Iraq to stop development of WMD's (Weapons of Mass Destruction).

2002 - (November) - UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq.

2002 - (November) - Oil tanker Prestige sunk off NW coast of Spain

2002 - (December) - Chevron-Texaco planning LNG receiving facility on Gulf Coast (800Mmcf/d increasing to 1.6Bcf/d)

2002 - (December) - National strike in Venezuela shuts down Venezuelan oil production

2003 - (February) - BP to purchase 50% interest in TNK - the 4th largest Russian oil company

2003 - Talisman sells holdings in Sudan following pressure from civil rights groups.

2003 - US Senate rejects proposal to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ( ANWR ) in northern Alaska

2003 - (March 19-20) -US led invasion of Iraq begins - to overthrow Saddam Hussein and prevent the spread of WMD's.

2003 - (April 9) - US take Baghdad

2003 - (May 21) - Alan Greenspan acknowledges that the low level of natural gas supplies is "a very serious problem" in a Presentation to Congress' Joint Economic Committee.

2003 - (Aug 14) - Major electrical failure causes blackout in New York State and Ontario.

2003 - (Sept) - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, CEO of Yukos Oil Co (largest Russian oil company) arrested

2003 (Dec 23) - Sour gas blow-out in Chongqing, SW China, kills 234 people

2004 (Jan 20) - Explosion at an LNG plant in Algeria halts oil production

2004 (July) - US oil imports at a record 11.3MMBO per day

2004 - (Nov) George Bush re-elected President in USA

2004 (Oct 25) - Oil at a record price of $55.67 US per barrel on concerns over high demand and possible supply disruptions in the Middle East and damage on the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Ivan .

2004 (Dec) - Renationalising of Russian oil industry continued with Rosneft acquiring the largest unit of OAO Yukos Oil Co. Yukos has been forced into bankruptcy due to non payment of taxes.

2004 - Oil production in UK sector of North Sea declined by 10% in 2004.


2005 (Mar 30) - Goldman Sachs suggest oil could spike to $105 US per barrel

2005 (Mar 23) - Explosion at BP's Texas City Refinery kills 15 people and injures 170 others

2005 (Mar 31) - Oil briefly exceeds $58 US per barrel on continued strong demand and concern over supply

2005 (Apr 4) - Chevron-Texaco offer to buy Unocal Corp for $16.4 Billion

2005 (Apr) - Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge Deepwater Port opened - the first offshore LNG receiving facility and the first new LNG regasification facility to be built in the USA in 20 years.

2005 (June 23) - China State Oil Co offers $18.5 Billion for Unocal Corp, (offer withdrawn in August)

2005 (July 4) - First import of LNG to United Kingdom in 20 years as North Sea natural gas production declines

2005 (July 7) - Terrorist attacks in London - 4 bombs - 3 planted on Underground, 1 on a London bus.

2005 (July 24) - Iran and Iraq sign a cooperative oil trading agreement

2005 (Aug) - Chevron Corp acquisition of Unocal Corp finalised

2005 (Aug 29) - Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast of the US with devastating results

2005 (Aug 29) - Oil reaches $70.80 US per Bbl.

2005 (Sept) - The 1770 km long Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan (BTJ or BTC) oil pipeline began operation at the Sangachal Oil Terminal in Baku. The second longest oil pipeline in the world after Russia's "Druzhba".

2005 (Sept 19) - Natural gas (NYMEX) at all time high of $12.33US on fears of new storm approaching Gulf of Mexico.

2005 (Sept 23) - Hurricane Rita strikes Gulf Coast

2005 (Dec 13) - Natural gas price hits a record high of $15.65US/mmbtu in the United States

2005 (Dec 13) - Conoco Philips and Burlington Resources to merge in a deal valued at $35.6US Billion


2006 (Jan 1) - Russia attempts to penalise the Ukraine by blocking gas sales - the effort failed after a few days.

2006 (Jun 23) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp offers US$21.1Billion for Kerr McGee Corp and Western Gas Resources Inc.

2006 (July 13) - Oil hits a record high of $78.40/bbl on New York Mercantile Exchange on supply and world political concerns - nuclear tensions in Iran and supply concerns in Iraq, Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico; missile testing by North Korea and flare ups between Israel and Lebanon.

2006 (Aug 6) - BP to shut-in part of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field, Alaska to replace corroded pipelines, resulting in accusations of poor maintenance procedures.

2006 (Aug 18) - Mexico receives first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas at its Altamira Terminal near Tampico in NE Mexico, LNG to be used for power generation.

2006 (Sept) - Russia exerting nationalistic pressures on multi-national oil companies - Shell, Exxon and ConocoPhillips

2006 (Dec 18) - Statoil and Norsk Hydro to merge to create a $92.3Billion enterprise.

2006 (Dec 22) - Gazprom to buy half of the Sakhalin-2 project from Shell and partners for $7.45Billion - continuing Russian efforts to have more control over their industry.


2007 (Jan 8) - Russia turns off flow of oil through Belarus to Eastern Europe on accusations that Belarus was illegally taking their oil.

2007 (Jan 8) - Venezuela planning to nationalise oil refineries

2007 (Mar) - European Union introduced new environmental regulations to reduce GHG emissions by 20% by 2020

2007 (Mar 23) - Oil prices rise on tension over Iran capture of 15 British soldiers reportedly strayed into Iranian waters. Released on 4th April resulting in oil prices falling back.

2007 (Mar 27) - Venezuela deal with China National Petroleum Corp to export more oil to China instead of US.

2007 (Apr 9) - GECF - Gas Exporting Countries Forum met in Qatar - a group of gas exporting countries countries led by Russia with plans to 'strengthen ties towards cooperation and stability in natural gas markets. - Possibly the start of an 'OPEC' for gas? (Member countries are listed at the bottom of the page)

2007 (May 1) - Venezuela nationalizes part of oil industry by taking over operating control of oilfields operated by ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Statoil and Total.

2007 (May 31) - May LNG imports to USA highest ever at 3.1Bcf/d. Compared to 2006 average of 1.6Bcf/d.

2007 (July 9) - StatOil and Norsk Hydro to merge

2007 (Oct 5) - Ecuador announces plan to increase royalties from 50% to 99% on oil and gas prices above a contractual benchmark

2007 (Nov 20) - WTI oil price futures hit a record close of $99.29US driven by supply concerns and weakness in the US dollar


2008 (Jan 2) - WTI oil price briefly touches US$100 per barrel for the first time driven by supply concerns and the weak US dollar

2008 (Mar 18) - Venezuela announces plans to price more of its oil sales in Euros to protect against the drop in value of the US dollar

2008 (Apr 8) - BP and Conoco Phillips announce plans to develop an Alaska gas pipeline - in competition to the previously announced plan led by TranCanada Pipeline.

2008 (July 11) - Crude oil hits a record high over $147.27 per barrel on continued concern over supplies and the weak US dollar.

2008 (July 23) - Alaska gives nod to TransCanada Pipeline to develop the Alaska Gas Pipeline.

2008 (Sept -Nov) -- Global recession fears

2008 (Nov 18) - Saudi supertanker hijacked off Somalia

2008 (Nov 20) - Price of oil drops below $50/bbl (see July 11, 2008)

2008 (Nov - June 2009) Global Recession a reality


2009 (Jan) - Gas exports to Europe greatly reduced as a dispute between Russia and Ukraine causes a halt to gas exports through the Ukraine

2009 (Jan 19) - Oil price falls to $34 US per barrel

2009 (1Q) - Declining natural gas prices in North America cause significant cut in gas drilling in both Canada and USA

2009 (June) - Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia brought onstream - largest single oil development ever - expected production of 1.2MMBO, 315Mmcf/d Gas and 70mbbls NGLs per day

2009 (July 24) - California Government approves new offshore oil lease off Santa Barbara - see 1969

2009 (Sept 13) - Chevron announces plans to develop the Gorgon LNG Project at Barrow Island offshore Australia

2009 (Oct 20) - Oil above US$80 per barrel - driven mainly by weakness in US dollar

2009 (Dec 7 - 20) - Climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark - yielded very little results

2009 (Dec 14) - Exxon-Mobil offer $30 billion to acquire XTO Energy Inc (a significant shale gas exploiter in the United States)


2010 (Jan 13) - Apache Canada Ltd. to acquire 51 percent of Kitimat LNG Inc.'s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in British Columbia.

2010 (Feb 5) - Russia and Venezuela to jointly invest $20billion over 40 years to develop the Junin 6 Field in the Orinoco Basin

2010 (Apr 15) - Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted - disrupting air travel in Europe and across the Atlantic - problem lasted about one week.

2010 (Apr 20) - Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and fire while drilling BP’s Macondo exploration well, in Gulf of Mexico, 11 workers killed and concern about a major environmental catastrophe along the Gulf Coast

2010 (Apr 27) - Russia and Norway sign agreement resolving sovereignty of a portion of the Barent's Sea that has been in dispute for more than 40 years. The area is believed to be highly prospective for oil and gas exploration

2010 (June 3) - EOG blowout of gas well in the Marcellus trend in Pennsylvania - reporting reflected some of the sensitivity around oil and gas activity following the BP blowout (see April 20)

2010 (June 16) - BP suspends dividend payments and sets aside $20Billion to cover damage claims from the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico

2010 (July 15) - BP succeed in placing a cap to stop the leak on the Maconda exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico. Subsequently, 4.9 Million barrels of oil estimated to have leaked from the well

2010 (July 19) - Apache Corp to buy BP's Permain Basin, Egypt Western Desert and Canadian Upstream assets for $7 Billion

2010 (July 26) - Rupture in Enbridge oil pipeline leaks 19,500bbls oil into the Kalamazoo River, Michigan

2010 (Oct 10) - China National Oil Corp (CNOC) to spend $2.2Billion to acquire an interest in the Eagle Ford Shale (liquids rich gas) in South Texas

2010 (Oct 11) - Statoil and Talisman Energy buy $1.8Billion to acquire interests in the Eagle Ford Shale (liquids rich gas) in South Texas

2010 (Oct 12) - USA lifts ban on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

2010 (Nov 9) - Chevron Corp to buy Atlas Energy for US$4.3Billion to gain access to the Marcellus Shale play

2010 (Nov 23) - Freeport LNG and MacQuarrie Bank plan to build LNG export facility in Texas with a capacity of 1.4Bcf/d to be operational in 2015 at a cost of $2Billion


2011 (Jan 16) - BP signs deal with Rosneft to jointly explore for oil and gas in the South Kara Sea of the Russian Arctic

2011 (Jan - Apr) - Unrest in various countries of the Arab world creates concern over energy supply and boosts oil prices

2011 (Feb 1) - Exxon-Mobil and partners report driling a horizontal well with a reach of 7.13miles (11425metres) to the Odoptu Field offshore Sakhalin Island. The actual measured depth of the well was reported as 12,345metres.

2011 (Mar 11) - A 9.0 earthquake offshore Japan created a tsunami that caused considerable damage to the Fukushima Nuclear plant 150 miles north of Tokyo - raising questions on the viability and safety of nuclear power

2011 (Apr 19) - A blow out in a shale gas well owned by Chesapeake Energy in Bradford County, north Pennsylvania ignites debate on the safety of hydraulic fracturing

2011 (May 18) - BP and Conoco Phillips withdraw Denali Pipeline Application - proposal to build a pipeline to bring gas from Prudhoe Bay to southern or export markets

2011 (Jul 12) - EIA estimates 2011 growth in US gas Production of 5.8% or an estimate of 65.39Bcf/day for a new record level of gas production in the United States. (Driven by the enormous growth in shale gas production)

2011 (Jul 14) - ConocoPhillips announces plans to split into two comp[anies - an E&P company and a refining/marketing company

2011 (Sept 20) - Husky Energy Inc authorise Liwan Gas Project with CNOOC (Chinese national Offshore Oil Co) located offshore 300km SE of Hong Kong production of upto 500Mmcf/d expected by 2015

2011 (Sept 26) - Chevron approves $29Billion Wheatstone LNG project in Western Australia (Partners: Apache, Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Expl Co, Royal Dutch Shell and Kyushu Electric)

2011 (Oct 17) - Kinder Morgan Inc to buy El Paso Corp for $21Billion to create the largest pipeline holdings in North America

2011 (Nov 5) - Escopeta Oil Co reports gas discovery at Kitchen Lights Unit in Cook Inlet Alaska - potentially extending LNG exports from Alaska

2011 (Nov 8) - Australian parliament passes carbon emissions law - forcing the 500 top polluters to pay for carbon emission

2011 (Nov 10) - TCPL Keystone XL pipeline planned to transport bitumen from the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta to Texas Gulf Coast re-routed to avoid environmentally sensitive sandhills in Nebraska. Final approval (?) delayed until 2012.

2011 (Dec 31) - US natural gas production in December 2011 at a record high level of 66.2Bcf/d breaking a previous high dating back from 1973


2012 Jan - Packers Plus report completing a well in the Marcellus with 60 frac stages along a 3600' lateral

2012 Jan - North American natural gas prices drop to the lowest level since 2002 driven by the growth in production from shale gas reservoirs

2012 (Jan 3) - Chinese company Sinopec agrees to invest $US2.2Billion in five plays owned by Devon Energy Corp.

2012 (Jan 18) - US Government rejects TCPL Keystone XL Pipeline proposed to carry crude bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to refineries on the Gulf Coast

2012 (Mar 21) - Brazil charges Chevron Corp and Transocean with negligence over an oil spill of 3000 barrels that occurred offshore Brazil in November 2011

2012 (Apr 1) - Total well leaking gas at Elgin Field 240Km east of Scotland in North Sea

2012 (Apr 16) - Exxon-Mobil Corp and Rosneft sign a deal resulting in Rosneft acquiring a 30% interest in 3 projects in North America - West Texas tight oil, Deep water Gulf of Mexico, and a shaly oil play in Alberta, in exchange for access to Russian offshore holdings in the Arctic and Black Sea

2012 (April 16) - Argentine government moves to take control of YPF - an energy company active in Argentina controlled by Repsol on the grounds they were not finding enough oil

2012 (April 17) - UK Government removes ban on hydraulic fracturing imposed after a fracturing program in the NW of England in 2011 apparently caused a minor earthquake

2012 (Jun 25) - Chesapeake Energy Corp and Encana Corp accused of collusion to suppress land prices in a shale gas play in Michigan in 2010

2012 (Jul 23) - SINOPEC to buy 49% of Talisman Energy Inc North Sea operatiions for $US1.5Billion

2012 (July 31) - An electrical power failure in India left a reported 600milliion people without electricity

2012 (Aug 25) - A blast at the Amuay oil refinery in Venezuela kills nearly 50 people

2012 (Sep 18) - A fire at a PEMEX compressor station near Reynosa in northern Mexico kills 26 people

2012 (Oct 22) - Rosneft to acquire TNK-BP for $55Billion. BP will receive $12.3Billion in cash, $14.7Billion in Rosneft stock and two representatives on the Rosneft board


Many different resources have been tapped for this information.

Particularly useful resources include:

National newspapers, periodicals, newswire services, Nickel's Daily Oil Bulletin.

Economides, M. and Oligney, R., The Color of Oil, 2000.

Epstein, L. et al. The Politics of Oil, 2003 - from the 'Complete idiot's Guide' Series gives a very good summary of the issues and opposing forces and ideologies behind the world oil industry.

Jean Laherrere, 2005 - provides a history of oil shale avtivity

Mir-Babayev M.F., Contribution of Azerbaijan into History of the World Petroleum Industry (His willingness to share his research is much appreciated - Dave R 2010)

Sampson, A., The Seven Sisters*, 1975.

Tertzakian, P., A Thousand Barrels a Second, 2006.

US Department of Energy - World Oil Market and Oil Price Chronologies: 1970 -1999

Yergin, D., The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, 1992 - this book has a good chronology of significant events and excellent Bibliography.

Yergin, D. The Quest - Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, 2011

* Pers Com. from Joyce Hunt quoting information from W. Brice of the Petroleum History Institute, Dec 2007.

The Break-up of Standard Oil Trust in 1911 - The empire of John D. Rockefeller broken up by court order to create: Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of Ohio (later taken over by BP), Standard of Indiana (became Amoco), Continental Oil (became Conoco), Atlantic Oil (became Arco).

OPEC - Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries - Members: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela

GECF - Gas Exporting Countries Forum - Members: Algeria, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela.


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