Romanian Petroleum History

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The Romanian Petroleum History Timeline 

Oil was exploited in the Roman province of Dacia, now in Romania, where it was called picula.The beginning of the Romanian petroleum industry dates back to 1769 with the documentation of rudimentary crude oil extraction in Moldavia by Dimitrie Cantemir, a former Moldavia King, who published the account in "Descriptio Moldavie."The first documents attesting the existence of fuel oil on today’s territory of Romania do not tell us, however, how oil was extracted or what it was used for. Fuel oil is only mentioned in passing, as a mere topographic detail. The first document from the Romanian historical province of Moldavia is dated October 4th 1440, while the first records mentioning oil from Wallachia is dated 1517.In the beginning, crude oil exploitation simply meant collection from the shallow pits and ditches in the outcrops of the Sub-Carpathian area. The technique involved digging small holes into the ground, where fuel oil was collected, while the crude oil was channelled through ditches towards a collecting pit. The exhaustion of these so-called outcrops led to the in-depth exploitation of the crude oil by means of technologies taken over from other industrial sectors. The so-called “oil bath”, for example, was imported from the coal industry, and was used extensively from the late 16th century to the 19th century. Fuel oil washeries were used at the same time. Some progress was made when pits started to be dug, in square and circular shape depending on the depth of the oil field. In our country the first processing equipments of petroleum are considered the “oil pumps” from Lucacesti-Bacau, belonging to N Choss in 1840 and M. Heimsohn in 1844. Distillation on industrial way starts with the refinery built by Mehedinteanu brothers at the periphery of Ploiesti city, near the South Station, on 174, Buna Vestire Street. The refinery installations were quite primitive, all the equipment being build up from iron or raw iron cylindrical vessels, warmed up directly with wood fire. This equipment was ordered in Germany from Moltrecht company which was building boilers for bituminous shale distillation. Industrial distillation was a technology first used by a refinery built by the Mehedinteanu brothers, on the outskirts of Ploiesti, in southern Romania. The equipment consisted of cylindrical cast iron recipients, under which a fire was lit. The equipment was ordered from a German company making bituminous schist boilers. The building of the so-called “gas factory” started in 1856, and was commissioned by Marin Mehedinteanu.
The Romanian reservoirs range from 100 to 4800 m in depth and a thickness of a few meters to tens of meters.The reservoir rocks consist of sandstones or limestones which are continuously layered with oil gravities from 14 to 37°API. Natural water encroachment has been hindered by strong folding and faulting. The major reservoirs are in the Moesic Platform, the Meridional or Eastern Carpathian Depression, the Pannonian Platform and the Continental Shelf of the Black Sea. The reservoirs are of different ages, from the upper Pliocene (Levantine) to the lower Triassic.
1856 - In December 1856 starts the construction of the gas factory from Ploiesti, on the name of Marin Mehedinteanu. First production, in Ploiesti, of lamp oil to be used for street lightning.
1857 - First country registered with oil industry production(250 tones) as mentioned in "The Science of Petroleum" („The Science of Petroleum” certifies in 1938 the fact that Romania was the first country in the world with an oil production of 275 tones officially registered in the international statistics. It was followed by the United States in 1859, Italy in 1860, Canada in 1862 and Russia in 1863.).
1857 - The first commercial oil well in Romania was drilled in 1857 .
1857 - Bucharest, the world’s first city public illuminated with kerosene.
1861 - The first well drilled in Romania, to a depth of 150m, using wooden rods and auger type bits.
The first oil well mechanical drilled in Romania( Targu-Ocna) - 1861.

1862 - Oil production reached 3000 to
1880 - Oil production grow at 15900 tones.
1882 - The setup of the Geological Bureau.
1886 - Eng Ion Gheorghiu, executor of oilmen DV Hernia ,building a refinery, which had a processing capacity of 125 tonnes in order to distil the oil extracted.It was built on the plateau Bucea in the current motor coach stations.
1887 - The same engineer Ion Gheorghiu dig the river mouth Doftana a probe mounted on a shaft deep oil to 145 m. The eruptive products of some 500 tones/day.The first well dug in Campina.
1890 - Campina first scaffold is formed on petroleum in the country, the first five wells.
1895 - The Law of Mines governs crude oil production.
1896 - The setup of the Romanian Company Steaua Romana. In his time, was considered the largest and most modern refinery in Europe, with a processing capacity of 1200 tons/day;
1897 - Dutch society "Amsterdam" arranged on the Prahova river in the city with a hydroelectric power about 220 kW. It will use electricity produced from digging the first three wells.It is considered to be a premiere in the oil world.
1898 - Steaua Romana finishes the construction of a refinery and central workshops.
1900 - Oil production grow at 250.000 tones. In 1900, Romania was the third largest oil producer of the world with annual production of 1.9 million barrels.Oil eruption.
1900 - Romania was the first country in the world which exported gasoline.
1902 - Was founded "Bustenari oil company" which will be merged in 1907 with "The Telega-Oil Company" and the famous company "Concordia".
1903 - The setup of the Romanian-American Company Standard Oil.
1904 - The start of the Concordia Company.
1904 - The setup of the School for Drilling and Refining Foremen in Campina(the first school in the country and the world at a time).The school has given to the Romanian oil industry high professional preparation foreman, asked even from 1914 to work abroad.
School for Drilling and Refining Foremen in Campina.
1905 - The start of Creditul Minier and Vega.
1905 - In that year was established by a group of bankers and industrialists (Leon Ruzicka, A. Taubes, Lazare I. Elias), “Colombia” , Franco-Romanian Society of Petrol, one of the oldest oil company in Romania, with a capital 1.200.000 lei.“Colombia”, a French-Romanian oil company, was founded in 1905 andrepresented the largest investment of French capital on Romanian oil market. After themerger with “Alpha” Oil Company it became one of the most important oil companyfrom Romania. The president of the company was apointed Ernest Mercier, an illustrious french engineer, who was invested by King Ferdinand.
1906 - The founding of the Romanian Geologic Institute .
1906 - The setup of a French-Romanian Company Unirea Aquila-built in 1906 and gradually developed to process 900 tons per day, it was completely renovated by installing two units then, in 1931, by building a distillation plant "pipe-still, with a capacity of 1,400 tonnes per day .
1907 - The Romanian-American Company drilled at Moreni the first well with a rotary bit (Speranta oil well).
1907 - The 3rd International Petroleum Congress in Bucharest, in 1907 attended by about 900 delegates from many countries
1907 - The testing of the first air-system extraction by Steaua Romana, in Campina-the american method of extraction of crude oil by gas-lift.
1907 - In Ploiesti was founded Concordia factory for repair and manufacturing of oilfield equipment.
1908 - The first drill for gas at Sarmasel-began on February 9, 1908 and was stopped on day 8October 1908, at a depth of 627 m, due to technical difficulties. On this occasion found that the formations had crossed a slope of 470, leading, following calculations, the hypothesis that potassium-rich salt waters may be encountered at a depth approximately 1000 meters. To verify this hypothesis, another location was chosen to a distance of 2.9 kilometers N-E first. Thus, on the November 26, 1908, start drilling probe 2 Sarmasel.During well drilling , at a depth of 122 meters were observed first emanations of gas, as the depth grew and became increasingly violent. Thus, at a depth of 228 meters was intercepted a deposit so strong that contractor was forced to stop work because of high gas pressure. After have taken necessary safety measures, the probe continued digging until 22 April 1909, when work is stopped due to a strong and permanent gas eruptions, which dropped out of the drill rigs rolling. Depth probe at that time was 302 m, and the flow was measured to 1,000,000 m3/day, the gas pressure was estimated at 41 bar. In Following this event, founded in Cluj State Service for mining, which have the object of study of natural gas deposits discovered in Sarmasel.
1908 - The first manufacture of oil equipment , installations and the start of repair workshops in Ploiesti.
1909 - In Romania, methane gas was discovered at Sarmasel, the Mures County, in 1909.Astra Romana and Orion oil factory and workshops at Ploiesti.
1910 - The start of the Astra Romana Company.
Oil drills at Campina-1910.
1911 - The first use of valves.
Petroleum workers at Moreni.
1912 - The first use of tacit type valve, the first blow-out preventer system.Virgil and Tacitus Eng. Valeriu Puscariu built a valve, oil remained in history as the "valve Tacitus, who adapted the probes in the eruption, they could close the hydraulic of any distance, even if the probe rash ignite.It applies to open with a rash of 100 atm pressure.Valve was patented in Romania on May 15, 1912, then in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Mexico, asking him to patent in other countries where oil is exploited.
1912 - The first Romanian and European organization in the field, ‘Erste Siebenbuergische Erdgas Aktiengesellschaft – The First Transylvanian Company for Natural Gas Conduction’ was established in 1912 at Turda, its object of activity being natural gas transmission and exploitation of Sarmasel reservoir. The company commenced the building of a 55 km long methane gas transmission pipeline with a diameter of 153 mm, from Sarmasel to Turda. The pipeline building was completed in 1914.
1913 - The first natural gas production.
1913 - The production reached 1 885 619 t.
1914 - The start of the Petroleum and Mines Section within the Roads and Bridges Construction School.
1914 - In World War I in Romania was destroyed 1677 oil wells, of which 1047 in production, oil refineries, tanks and refineries scaffolding all their facilities annexes and a quantity of 827,000 tons of oil derivatives.
1916 - The oil fields of Ploiesti are totally destroyed by retreating Roumanians. British engineers direct where explosives could do the maximum damage to the facilities.
Fire and Brimstone at Ploiesti-1916.

Oil wells destroyed in romanian retreat-1916.
1917 - The oil fields are taken over by the German Company Erdol Betriebs Gemeinschaft.
1917 - Turda became the first European town lit up with natural gas. Within 1917-1925, for the first time, the Transylvanian towns of Turda, Tarnaveni and Medias were supplied with methane gas.
1917 - The first gas transportation pipeline of Europe is put into operation (Sarmasel-Turda, 50 Km x 10 inches).
1919 - After the World War is fonded Creditul Minier,IRDP and Petrolul Romanesc and almost all company set up previously continue thei activity.
1921 - The testing of the gas-lift extraction system at the “15 AR” well, in Moreni, by Astra Romana.
American oil wells in Moreni,Romania-1923.
1923 - The appliance on an industrial scale of the high compression and absorption process in Moreni and Campina.
1924 - Astra Romana, the Romanian division of Shell company begins the tubing of an 11 inches pipe at 770 m, at "204 AR" well, the cementing operation being achieved by using two plugs.
1924 - “Steaua Romaneasca” Society, practices through galleries. The process was practically the same as that of coal mines. A well is digged through the oilfield and then through galleries there happened a process of capturing the oil. The process was an efficient one.Currently speaking, through drilling it was managed to put out about 20% of the petroleum deposit. Through the galleries method it happened the drilling of about 60% of the petroleum deposit.This process was used on the fields of Buzau.The depth of the digged well was of 141 meters.
Oil well in Buzau county at Arbanasi.
1925 - The first production of crude oil of the Sarata Monteoru minewhen one horizon was drilled-in and produced by mining methods.The thermo-sorbon process is applied.Mining methods at the Sarata Montereou mine had a total of 73 shafts and over 200 horizontal wells drilled.
1925 - Was established in the Geological Institute of Romania, "prospecting service" under the leadership of Professor David Roman (1925-1927) with appropriate equipment for gravimetry, magnetometry and electrometric.
1925 - The first session of the International Drilling Congress, strengthened the reputation which the Romanian oil industry enjoyed in the first decade of this century.
1925 -The necessity to regulate gas pressure upon delivery from the transmission pipeline to the distribution companies or to the industrial consumers determined the mounting of the first natural gas regulating-metering-delivery station in Medias, in 1925.
1925 - Romana Americana (Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey) acquired 150,000 shares of Creditul Minier which owns oil-bearing properties in Moreni, Ochiuri, Floresti and Runcu districts of Roumania. The company operates Aurora Co. refinery at Baicoi under contract running till January 1, 1932, and is interested in other oil and coal companies operating in Roumania. The company produced 222,244 tons of oil in 1924 and has 30 producing wells.
1926 - The first use of the preventer at 100 AR Moreni well by Astra Romana.
1927 - The execution of the first mechanical core and the first gun casing perforation.
1927 - 1,566 producing oil wells, of which 1,014 are in the district of Prahova, 116 in Dambovita, 113 in Buzau and 123 in Bacau. Crude production from these wells in 1927 was about 25,900,000 barrels, an increase of some 3,150,000 barrels over 1926.
1927 - The dropping of the natural gas pressure in the Sarmasel reservoir led to the necessity to compress natural gas for the supplying of Turda. Thus, in 1927, the first compressor station in Europe was mounted at Sarmasel.Besides the building of natural gas transmission pipelines in Transylvania, two pipelines were built in Valachia for the transmission of the oil field associated gas to the household consumers and to the industrial consumers in Campina (1927) and in Ploiesti (1928).
Petroleum workers at oil well 20 Sarmasel-1927
1927 - The construction of gas pipeline between Moreni and Floresti-15 Km by Steaua Romana.
1927 - Were performed first mechanical logging and drilling by blasting the first column.
1928 - The construction of gas pipeline between Moreni and Ploiesti by Astra&Steaua Romana.
Tubing blow up by eruption from an oil well at Campina.
1929 - Is introduced for domestic gas from wells by the company "Astra Romanian" at the first 43 subscribers in Campina.
1929 - Is apply the process of exploitation of oil in Sarata Monteoru by galleries. Platform and the walls of galleries dug in deep as a coal mine drop crude oil that spills into a well over 250 meters deep collector Mining process is unique in Europe. Mining of oil is in function even today and is one of the main tourist attractions of the area.
1929 - Never had a fire burned so long and so hard as Romania's Moreni No. 160RA . A ferocious blaze that flamed for over two years and lit the skies for as far as seventy miles, the Moreni No. 160RA had already claimed the lives of fourteen men by the time Romanian oil executives agreed to the innovative approach proposed by maverick firefighter, Myron Kinley.
2 years of fire at 160 Romana-Americana well on Tuicani Plateau,Moreni,Romania.
1931 - The execution of the first electrical well logging.
1931 - The first gas injection at Dacian Moreni oil fields.
Prahova Valley oil wells.
1932 - A number of 33 enterprises realised a drilling activity.“Astra Romana”,“Steaua
Romana”,“Concordia”,“Unirea”,“Romano-Americana”and“Creditul Minier”,all of them drilled more than 10000 meters.
1932 - The number of the employees in the oil sites consisted of 250 engineers, 626 clerks, 581 workover team leaders, 4342 roughnecks, 3669 mechanics and qualified workers, 4636 day-laborers and watchmen, with a total of 13904 people.
1934 - The Brazi refinery is built.Creditul minier society began building its own refinery,with Romanian budget exclusively.
1934 - The company’s Creditul Minier oil well number 1, at Chitorani, had reached a depth of 3300 m (1934), taking the second place in the world, being at a distance of 158 meters from General Petroleum Corporation’s oil well from California, oil well with a record depth of 3458 meters. (“The world’s deepest oil wells“, article from Moniteur du Petrole Roumain, nr. 17/1938, page 1085).
1934 - Dr. ing. Ion Basgan the one that using the sonicity principle have licensed in 1934 in Romania and USA a new drilling system: “Method for improving the efficiency and perfecting the rotative drilling through percussive rotation and hydrodynamic pressure absorption.”
1936 - The first gas injection, on an industrial scale by Astra Romana, at the Meotian Boldesti oil field, at a 1800 m depth.
1936 -Most quantities of oil were exported through the port of Constanta(brought by pipeline)reached 81.29%;the rest by CFR Giurgiu and other ports export made a 15.92% and land customs of 2.79%.
1936 - The production has continued to increase constantly, reaching 8 784 000 t in 1936, quantity which represented maximum of the inter-war period.
Petroleum wells in Campina-1936.
1937 - Oil exported by Romania ranks fifth, after Venezuela (19 000 000t), SUA (15 000 000t), Iran (8 500 000t) si Indiile Olandeze (6 fifth, after Venezuela (19 000 000t), USA (15 000 000t), Iran (8 500 000t) and the Dutch East Indies (6 500 000t).
Oil fields in winter-Romania,1937.
1937 - The gas extracted of the Meotian Margineni condensed gas field is reinjected to maintain the reservoir pressure.
1937 - The maximum number of drilled metres was registered in 1937: 394000. Comparing to 1921, when the number of drilled meters was 55857, the rise was more than 700
1938 - During the 1930s the engineer Dr Ion Basgan was the first to introduce sonic vibrations in the drill pipe string of a conventional rotary drilling rig. The sonic currents caused the steel pipe string to oscillate up and down and thus to produce powerful blows on the bottom of the borehole through the rotating drill bit. This enabled the depth and speed of drilling to be greatly increased. It also enabled the drill to bore a truly vertical hole without distortion, which was not always possible with the old method. For example, at the Moreni oil fields in Romania in 1938 a bore hole was drilled 1,915 metres (6,300 feet) deep in 30 days by this method.
1938 - „The Science of Petroleum” certifies in 1938 the fact that Romania was the first country in the world with an oil production of 275 tones officially registered in the international statistics.
1938 - The deepest well in Romania, 13 Astra Romana(at Boldesti) reaches the depth of 3644 m.
1940 - The first gas storage at Levantin Boldesti reservoir, performed by Astra Romana Company.
Creditul Minier oil wells next to Ploiesti,Romania-1940.
1942 - From 120 wells of which 62 in production, which the Colombia company had in year 1933 at the beginning of 1942 the company had 61 wells of which 58 three being productive and cutting. All wells were connected by pipeline company between them and the refinery "Aquila" of Ploiesti, on a charge of Society of Băicoi station, where they were and static tanks, and pipe oil towards Giurgiu. The total length of pipeline was 150 km. These pipelines annual carrying over 500,000 tonnes of petroleum products or company, or other companies. May had 386 wagons (163 own and 223 leased) for transport petroleum products from refinery company to export station Constanta.
1942 - Oil and gas production is governed by the "Petroleum Law".
1945 - The set up of Sovrompetrol Company. After 1944 “Colombia” was included in “Sovrompetrol”and the entire activity was intended to serve the Soviet interests. Under the new circumstances, in June 1948 the company was dissolved.After World War II, Romania nationalized the oil industry, which until then had been owned largely by foreign interests. Under Communist rule, massive investments in the petroleum and petrochemical industries were made in the drive to modernize.
1946 - Smoke pours from high stacks over the oil refineries at Ploiesti,Romania,indicating resumption of oil refining at the field,target of numerous low-level atacks by americans and british bombers in 1943.Annual production at Ploiesti now reaches 6 000 000 barrels.
Ploiesti-oil refineries in 1946.
1948 - The setup of Petrolifera Muntenia Oil Company.
1949 - The first deep pumping wells are drilled on Tintea structure (2800-3100 m).
1951 - The first water injection operation on an industrial scale at Sarmatian Boldesti oil field, at a 2600 m depth.
Romanian petroleum well in 1952.
1957 - To mark the 100th year anniversary of the Romanian oil industry in 1957, the authorities set up an oil museum in Ploiesti. On October 8th 1961 the National Oil Museum, the only one of its kind in the country and among the few in the world was officially opened.
1958 - The first Romanian and European natural gas storage facility was built in Ilimbav, Sibiu County, which allowed the taking over of the seasonal and hourly consumption peaks. This was considered to be a milestone in Europe.
1961 - This year represented the beginning of drilling for deep exploration in Romania starting with the 900-Boldesti well at 4865 meters. Between 1963 and 1966 the company Foraj Sonde Ploiesti (FSP) - formerly “Concordia” finished the following exploration wells: 10-Tinosu (6016 meters), 913-Margineni (6002 meters), 5015-Baraitaru (4984 meters), 6003-Podeni (5985 meters), 4503-Bratesti (5414 meters).
1963 - The deepest oil well was drilled in Ticleni,the core of oil production in Oltenia.The well held a long time the Europen record - 6016m
1964 - Application of steam injection at Moreni(Levantine) and in situ combustion at Suplacu de Barcau(Pannonian) reservoirs. Due to its performances (production being maintained at the same level for over 25 years and a recovery factor of 56% in the area swept by the front), Suplacu de Barcåu remains the singular in situ combustion process in the country.
1965 - Romania was the first country in Europe to build a natural gas compressor station, placed on a main pipeline and provided with turbo-compressors, in Batani.
1965 - The well 504 Corbii Mari was drilled.Since that,the well produced only by eruption.It never required any intervention or capital reparation.
Ploiesti,Romania-drilling for oil in 1966.
1974 - A national programme for increasing oil recovery is created.The first gas deethanizer station was built in Pitesti.
1975 - The first offshore drilling platform is set on position on the continental platform of the Black Sea.Output for first time in Romania an offshore drilling platform, which would be a facility is equipped with drilling made at May 1 Company in Ploiesti also necessitated the purchase of a license was contracted, ultimately, the American company "Offshore Co.. This company offered part of project financing, delivery system hydraulic lifting platform (patent themselves), technical design, technical supervision over the execution platform, training romanian personnel (engineers, foremen, the probe heads, mechanics, electricians). Construction drilling platform in Galati shipyard place under the technical supervision of the register of shipping American (American Bureau of Shipping). At the same time work began planning the berth 34 in port of Constanta and helicopters base at Tuzla. In May 1976 the construction of platform was completed and went on deck GLORIA Danube to Constanta. After the bar the Sulina was passed with great excitement due to wind and cross current conflict with great platform reached the port of Constanta on May 26, 1976. The Dana 34 was welded remaining sections of the foot platform and have been checking the latest challenges and technological tests. The platform was carried on, the first location, Well 1 Ovidiu East, where depth water was 84 m (platform was designed for maximum water depth of 90 m and maximum wave height of 12 m). Since the first year successfully supported platform storm waves of 10-11 m and wind speeds of 40-45 m / sec. The well reached a depth of 5006 m, collected a material rich geological information, but economically it was a sterile probe. A second borehole was drilled on structure Midia to a depth of 4000 m, where he encountered dificult major drilling (massive loss of movement). Of economically and that the second drilling proved sterile. This has led to the third location, the structure Swan (location 8 Swan), in an area with sea water depth of 50 m, located next to Lake Razelm, ca 80 km N-E of Constanta. In nine fall 1979 begins an era in Romanian oil history, for the depth of 2500 m, upper Cretaceous limestone formations, there were first signs of oil,which immediately made tests confirmed the presence of crude oil in significant quantities.
Thus began exploiting oil in the Black Sea ...
1976 - Peak production was reached in 1976, gradually declining in subsequent years, as many of the country's 200 oil fields began nearing depletion and discovery of new reserves waned.Despite an accelerated exploration program, with average drilling depths increasing to 8,000 to 10,000 meters, oil output declined from 308 barrels per day in 1976 to 227 in 1986.
Oil drilling rig in Romania,1978.
1979 - Increasingly large quantities of crude had to be imported, and in 1979 imports surpassed domestic production for the first time. The 10th World Petroleum Congress is held in Bucharest.
1979 - First underground gas storage.
1984 - 7000 Baicoi well reaches a depth of 7025 m.
1987 - The first offshore oil production starts.
1987 - The first offshore water injection process is initiated.
1988 - Seven offshore oil-drilling platforms were operating in the Black Sea under the supervision of the Constanta-based Petromar enterprise to develop hydrocarbon reserves in the continental shelf.
1993 - The SPE Romanian section is set up.
1995 - The National Agency for Mineral Resources is founded and the new Petroleum Law comes into force.
1997 - The set up of the National Oil Company Petrom S.A.
2004 - Petrom becomes a member of the OMV Group.

Oil industry in Moreni,Romania immediately after the Second World War

Puits de petrole en Moreni Roumanie sept 1954
One of the last wooden derricks seen at Moreni oil field.

Oil flowing in wooden tanks.

Oil collection.

Casing hole transport columns.

Petroleum workers drilling for oil in Moreni,Romania-1955.

Oil field full with unit pumps
Pascov Valley and Tuicani Plateau-Moreni ,1950.

A oil well is been repair-Moreni,Romania 1945.