A Brief History of Oil & Gas

Did you know that humans have relied on natural resources for thousands of years?

The history of oil and gas has a surprisingly ancient origin. While we’ve always lived in a world where oil and gas are taken for granted, it’s easy to forget that these resources had to not only be discovered but innovated and refined.

Oil and gas have been utilized for thousands of years in a variety of ways. Ancient civilizations used these resources for building, heating, lighting, and even weaponizing.

As far back as 1,400, B.C., the temple of the Greek Oracle at Delphi was built on top of a mountain that had a perpetual flame coming out of the ground. This was due to natural gas permeating through the rock formations. At that time it was revered as a place where the gods were present. Recent studies have shown that the Oracle’s “visions” were likely because of her overexposure to natural gas vapors, which can lead to trance-like states and hallucinations.

Around 500-600 B.C., the Chinese started using bamboo to transport gas, like a pipeline, into their homes and boiled sea water in order to make it drinkable. Civilizations throughout the world even believed petroleum to have medicinal purposes.

Fast forward nearly 2,000 years and Native Americans from the Seneca tribe discovered oil in modern day Pennsylvania. They processed the crude resource and used it for insect repellant, ointment for their skin, and medicines. It’s no coincidence that hundreds of years later, in 1859, the first successful oil well was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Technological advancements, such as automobiles and light bulbs, called for a higher demand of energy, and oil became the main resource. The demand for oil was already high before World War I broke out. The military relied heavily on the oil and gas industry to power their vehicles, especially tanks, planes, and ships. Oil and gas soon became industrial fuel sources for production along with residential heating and electricity. By the end of World War II, America was fully dependent on oil and gas for manufacturing, transportation, shipping, heating, lighting, cooking, and more

Hydraulic Fracturing is a relatively recent innovation. In the late 1940’s, Halliburton conducted successful experiments in Oklahoma and Texas. The hydraulic fracturing process was quickly adopted and commercialized, becoming the new way to extract oil and gas in the coming decades.

Shale fracturing combined Hydraulic Fracturing and Horizontal Drilling—two practices that had been used for a long time. The combination of technology boosted oil and gas production in the 1970s.

What exactly is Hydraulic Fracturing? The process significantly increases oil and gas production by fracturing, or fracking, resource-bearing bedrock (shale), through the high-pressure injection of water, sand, and chemicals. This releases natural resources allowing them to be extracted.

Even with all of this technology, oil and gas production had been on the decline for decades. It wasn’t until 2005 when the Shale Boom increased natural gas production and 2008 for oil production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that “natural gas production worldwide is projected to increase from 342 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015 to 554 Bcf/d by 2040.” Of particular note, shale gas is expected to grow from 12% in 2015 to 30% of total world natural gas production by 2040.

As industries worldwide strive towards a cleaner future, technological innovations in the natural gas industry will help bridge the gaps from today’s demands on natural resources to tomorrow’s advancements. This includes decreasing emissions, increasing safety, and reducing waste.

About Catalyst Energy Services

Catalyst Energy Services started with the idea that technology is the key to the future. We take the stewardship of preserving our world’s resources seriously and are dedicated to constantly innovating our sector of the energy industry to achieve cleaner, safer, and optimized production. Built by an accomplished executive team with over 100 years of hands-on experience in the field, engineering, and business management, we are an emerging stimulation service company specializing in hydraulic fracturing treatment.




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