dan boyd | oklahoma geological survey
Pre-1859 Oil seeps, known to Indians as ‘medicine springs’, identified in the Indian Territory.
1859 First subsurface oil recovered, unintentionally, in salt well drilled near Salina in Mayes County.
1889 The first intentional oil find made near Chelsea in Rogers County. Its production of one half barrel per day is used as ‘dip oil’ to remove ticks from cattle.
1897 The Nellie Johnstone #1, the first commercial well drilled in Oklahoma, discovers the Bartlesville-Dewey Field in Washington County.
1900 University of Oklahoma School of Geology founded by Charles N. Gould.
1903 First commercial use of natural gas begins at a brick plant in Tulsa.
1905 Glenn Pool oil field is discovered near Tulsa in Creek County. This field helps push State production from 4,000 to more than 22,000 barrels per day. Owned in large part by Henry Ford Sinclair, it became central in the formation of the Sinclair Oil Company in 1916.
1906 Oklahoma Natural Gas Company is formed to deliver gas to Oklahoma City.
1907 Oklahoma and the Indian Territories become the State of Oklahoma.
1908 The Oklahoma Geological Survey is established by mandate of the State Constitution, with Dr. Charles N. Gould becoming its first director.
1910 E. W. Marland founds Marland Oil Company, which merges with Conoco in Ponca City in 1929.
1912 Cushing Field is discovered in Creek County. By March 1914 the field is producing 50,000 barrels per day, or one quarter of total State production.
1913 Healdton Field is discovered in Carter County. Producing more than 65,000 barrels per day in 1914, it eventually produces 360 million barrels.
1915 The first market-demand proration law takes effect in Oklahoma, but does little to curb overproduction and ruinous price slumps.
1916 Kinta Gas Field is discovered in Haskell County. Peak production, which occurred in 1971, was 450 million cubic feet per day.
1917 Phillips Petroleum Company is established in Bartlesville by Frank and L. E. Phillips.
1918 The Oklahoma part of Guymon-Hugoton Gas Field, the largest in North America, is discovered in Texas County. Ultimate recovery for this field is estimated at 70 trillion cubic feet.
1920 Burbank Field, where production will peak in 1923 at 72,000 barrels per day, is discovered in Osage County.
1921 Lloyd Noble enters the oil industry and establishes Ardmore-based Noble Drilling Company.
1923 The Greater Seminole Field is discovered. This prolific area, centered near Bowlegs in Seminole County, will eventually include 6 major oil fields that will produce 1.3 billion barrels.
1924 Introduction of rotary drilling to Oklahoma. This technique requires fluid in the wellbore, facilitating pressure control and reducing the frequency of blowouts.
1925 Phillips Petroleum invents the fractionation process to remove previously wasted liquid hydrocarbons from natural gas.
1927 State oil production peaks at 762,000 barrels per day.
1928 Oklahoma City Field is discovered and soon becomes the nation’s largest oil producer.
1929 Oklahoma Corporation Commission orders a statewide, 30-day shutdown of production.
1930 The “Wild Mary Sudik”, a development well in Oklahoma City Field, blows out. The most famous blowout in the history of the State, the well flowed an estimated 20,000 barrels per day. Strong winds blew oil as far as Norman, 11 miles south.
1931 The first water-flood operation is started in Oklahoma in Rogers County. Widespread acceptance of the method by operators did not occur until 1935, when water-flooding produced about 50,000 barrels of oil.
1933 The Oklahoma Corporation Commission issues “Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Conservation of Oil and Gas”.
1935 Interstate Oil Compact Commission is created with headquarters in Oklahoma City. The commission is designed to curtail U.S. oil production to match demand, thereby reducing price volatility.
1955 The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association is founded in Oklahoma City.
1963 Oklahoma natural gas production exceeds oil production in energy equivalency.
1970 Combined oil and gas production in the State peaks at 1.44 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
1974 The world’s deepest well, the GHK Bertha Rogers #1-27 in Washita County, is drilled to 31,441’ where it encounters molten sulfur in the Arbuckle Formation.
1978 The Natural Gas Policy Act takes effect, deregulating prices and allowing them to increase with demand.
1981 The average annual price of Oklahoma crude reaches a high of $35.18 per barrel.
1982 Drilling activity in the State reaches an all-time high with more than 12,000 well completions.
1983 The average annual gas price in Oklahoma reaches a high of $2.80 per thousand cubic feet.
1990 State gas production peaks at 6.2 billion cubic feet per day.
1995 The average annual price of Oklahoma natural gas reaches a modern low of $1.43 per thousand cubic feet.
1996 The first large-scale enhanced oil recovery operation in the State using carbon dioxide is started by Mobil in Postle Field in Texas County. In 1999 this project increased field production 8,000 barrels per day.
1997 Potato Hills Gas Field is discovered by GHK in Latimer County. Reaching peak production in 2000 at 120 million cubic feet per day, this field is the largest Oklahoma discovery in decades.
1998 The average annual price of Oklahoma crude reaches a modern low of $13.12 per barrel.
2005 The average annual price for Oklahoma gas reaches an all-time high of $7.00 per thousand cubic feet.
2006 The average annual price for Oklahoma oil reaches an all-time high of $62.84 per barrel.