Trek of the Oil Finders: A History of Exploration for Petroleum
It has been pointed out that “Petroleum geology is, in point of fact, one of the younger divisions of geological science.” Oil producers in the United States, where the modern industry had its birth, have been engaged for more than 100 years in a vigorous-at times hectic–search for new oil fields. Yet, over the first half of that period the “Wildcatter” looked askance at geologists. So long did this skeptical attitude persist that the distinguished career of the author of this volume spans the entire life of his profession in the United States. In Europe, the large oil companies organized geological departments decades earlier than their american competitors and realized on their investments in the “younger division” of geology through numerous discoveries in many far-flung corners of the globe. Although the modern oil industry started in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, American producers lagged notably in bringing the science of geology into their operations.
The American oil industry had advanced well into the second decade of the present century before it conceded to geology greater efficacy in the art of oil finding than to its own pioneer hypotheses–“Trends” and “Creekolbgy.” Even then, the geologist’s reception was lukewarm. Experience had taught the “practical oil man” to distrust expert oil finders– “dowsers,”“Witchers,” and “Doodle-buggers,” alike. To him the geologist was suspect-another expert.
Who needed experts? Certainly not the practical oil man! “Trends” and “Creekology” had been satisfactory working hypotheses; they had pointed the way to discovery of all the oil needed-the oil found by wildcatters was supplying all of America’s and much of the world’s requirements.
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