The first oil production of the world was officially recorded in Romania, in 1857 (at a rate of 1719 barrels/year). This was one year before William's well at Oil Springs in Ontario and two years before Drake's discovery in Pennsylvania. However, Romania's hydrocarbon history probably goes significantly farther into the past. Observations by travelers dating from the first half of the 16th century mentioned extraction of crude in the Romanian provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1900, Romania was the third largest oil producer of the world with annual production of 1.9 million barrels.

Before World War II, geologists and...

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