EGEE 120
Oil: International Evolution

The Prize, Chapter 1 Overview


The Prize, Chapter 1 Overview

Even in the earliest days of the business, the pioneers experienced market booms and busts with wild price fluctuations. Some areas that were prolific producing regions quickly dried up. The early days were characterized by an essentially uncontrolled frenzy to find and produce as much as possible. This quickly proved unsustainable, and our oil industry today is much more tempered and organized. Some may see today’s discipline as counter to the entrepreneurial spirit, but in reality, it is necessary to ensure long-term stability.

An interesting point about the early days of the oil industry is the important role that Pennsylvania played. Pennsylvania essentially was the US oil industry. It would only come later, as we shall see in subsequent chapters, that the focus moved to Texas and Oklahoma. And by the time we get to today, the first places people think about in regard to the US oil industry are Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming. The recent reemergence of Pennsylvania, and the entry of the Dakotas, as oil hubs is due to the advent of hydraulic fracturing, another “necessity driven innovation”.

The Prize

Chapter 1 - Oil on the Brain: The Beginning

Sections to Read
  • Introduction
  • To "Assuage our Woes"
  • Price and Innovation
  • The "Colonel"
  • "The Light of the Age"
  • Boom and Bust
Questions to Guide Your Reading:
  • What term describes the transition from whale oil to petroleum?
  • What was noted as a key to the advancement of the industry?
  • What does Boom/Bust cycle mean?
  • What role did Pennsylvania play from 1860-1890?