‘Uniformity in Geological Reports’ (1917) by Josef Theodor Erb, petroleum geologist and manager (1874–1934)
Mario M. A. Wannier, 2018. "‘Uniformity in Geological Reports’ (1917) by Josef Theodor Erb, petroleum geologist and manager (1874–1934)", History of the European Oil and Gas Industry, J. Craig, F. Gerali, F. MacAulay, R. Sorkhabi
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One hundred years ago, standards in geological report writing were formalized within the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Chief Geologist Josef Theodor Erb defined these standards in an internal report aimed at geologists working for Shell subsidiaries. His purpose was to raise the level of scientific reporting and to provide a measure of uniformity in geological reports sent to head office from all parts of the world. Ultimately, ‘Uniformity in Geological Reports’ was to allow the chief geologist to readily identify and follow-up on the better business opportunities. With time, Erb’s report developed into the Shell ‘Standard Legend’. Erb’s career is symptomatic of a developing company culture, which he embraced as his life’s goal. Realizing the shortcomings of this narrow personal philosophy of life may have been at the root of the mental problems that led to his death.
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The history of the European oil and gas industry reflects local as well as global political events, economic constraints and the personal endeavours of individual petroleum geoscientists as much as it does the development of technologies and the underlying geology of the region. The first commercial oil wells in Europe were drilled in Poland in 1853, Romania in 1857, Germany in 1859 and Italy in 1860. The 23 papers in this volume focus on the history and heritage of the oil and gas industry in the key European oil-producing countries from the earliest onshore drilling to its development into the modern industry that we know today. The contributors chronicle the main events and some of the major players that shaped the industry in Europe. The volume also marks several important anniversaries, including 150 years of oil exploration in Poland and Romania, the centenary of the drilling of the first oil well in the UK and 50 years of oil production from onshore Spain.