Oil Story #AToZChallenge

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OOil

Today is an important day, it is my birthday 🙂 Thank you everyone. But it also is the “O” day in A2Z challenge, so with the “O” we will go for the discovery of OIL. Why oil in particular?

Oil is the most important source of energy in our world. In brief, without oil there would be any of the inventions we talked about through the month. Oil deserved its well-known title “Black Gold”. 

Actually, digging for oil is not a recent or modern thing. More than four thousand years ago, according to Herodotus and confirmed by Diodorus Siculus, asphalt was employed in the construction of the walls and towers of Babylon; there were oil pits near Ardericca (near Babylon), and a pitch spring on Zacynthus (Ionian islands, Greece). Great quantities of it were found on the banks of the river Issus, one of the tributaries of the Euphrates. Ancient Persian tablets indicate the medicinal and lighting uses of petroleum in the upper levels of their society. 

In 347 AD, Oil wells are drilled in China up to 800 feet deep using bits attached to bamboo poles. 

The first streets of Baghdad were paved with tar, derived from petroleum that became accessible from natural fields in the region. In the 9th century, oil fields were exploited in the area around modern Baku, Azerbaijan. These fields were described by the Arab geographer Abu al-Hasan ‘Alī al-Mas’ūdī in the 10th century, and by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who described the output of those wells as hundreds of shiploads. Distillation of Petroleum was described by the Persian alchemist, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi(Rhazes). There was production of chemicals such as kerosene in the alembic (al-ambiq), which was mainly used for kerosene lamps. Arab and Persian chemists also distilled crude oil in order to produce flammable products for military purposes. Through Islamic Spain, distillation became available in Western Europe by the 12th century. It has also been present in Romania since the 13th century, being recorded as păcură.

1264, Mining of seep oil in medieval Persia witnessed by Marco Polo on his travels through Baku

1594, Oil wells are hand dug at Baku, Persia, up to 115 feet [35 metres] deep. 

In 1735, Oil sands are mined and the oil extracted at Pechelbronn field in Alsace, France. 

1802, A 58-ft well is drilled using a spring pole in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia by the brothers David and Joseph Ruffner to produce brine. The well takes 18 months to drill. 

1815, Oil is produced in the United States as an undesirable byproduct from brine wells in Pennsylvania.

1848, The first modern oil well is drilled in Asia, on the Aspheron Peninsula northeast of Baku, by Russian engineer F.N. Semyenov. 

1849, Canadian Abraham Gesner develops a process to distill kerosine (coal oil) from cannel coal and bituminous shale; he will become known as the “father of the petroleum industry.” Kerosine is easy to produce, cheap, smells better than animal-based fuels when burned, and does not spoil on the shelf as does whale oil.

1853, Kerosine is extracted from petroleum.

1854, The first oil wells in Europe are drilled 30 to 50 metres deep at Bobrka, Poland. The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, the first oil company in the United States, is formed as well.

These were the first years in oil industry history, after that and until the moment there are lots of oil and petroleum companies are working in the field. But oil wasn’t used in the beginning as a source of energy. USA settlers used oil as an illuminant for medicine, and as grease for wagons and tools. Rock oil distilled from shale became available as kerosene even before the Industrial Revolution began. While traveling in Austria, John Austin, a New York merchant, observed an effective, cheap oil lamp and made a model that upgraded kerosene lamps. Soon the U.S. rock oil industry boomed as whale oil increased in price owing to the growing scarcity of that mammal. The US became the biggest producer of oil in the entire world (of course the area of almost whole continent helps). 

Petroleum importance comes from its many uses. The chemical structure of petroleum is heterogeneous, composed of hydrocarbon chains of different lengths. Because of this, petroleum may be taken to oil refineries and the hydrocarbon chemicals separated by distillation and treated by other chemical processes, to be used for a variety of purposes.

Oil affects almost every industry and work field either directly or indirectly. As an example, Since the 1940s, agricultural productivity has increased dramatically, due largely to the increased use of energy-intensive mechanization, fertilizers and pesticides. 

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