In the 1930s, Alfred Bentz, August Moos and Karl Krejci-Graf were among the most noteworthy petroleum geologists in Germany. Being scientific modernists, they systematized the search for oil, introducing modern exploration methods. All three, at some stage, worked for the German state on providing the petroleum needed by the German military during World War II. The three colleagues seem to have had an amicable relationship. They were, however, very different. Bentz was not a member of the National Socialist party but obviously lent his expertise to the regime; as did Krejci-Graf, who, although also was not a party member, was a member of the SS, whereas Moos, due to his Jewish background, was murdered in January 1945 in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. This paper endeavours to sketch the lives of the three colleagues, highlighting their relationship and the interconnectedness of contemporary moral issues with professional and scientific demands.
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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.