The wooden derricks

Drilling for oil inside one of the many derricks at Ploiesti, Romania , 1946. The drill, deep in the ground, is rotated mechanically.
Inside of a derrick oil well in Romania-1910

Moinesti oilmen's

Oil workers at Moinesti  - in  the 60's

Moinesti - early exploitation of oil

Oil well no.1 Moinesti in 1903
Percussion drilling system - Zemes,1911
Lucacesti 1911
For digging the wells was use a lot of manual labor.They use improved tools and methods as mirrors to illuminate the dark depths and some primitive ventilation systems. Workers were threatened with death every time because explosions and fires that could break while digging the wells. Working conditions were difficult because digging to great depths without protection, diggers were threatened with blindness because the gas emanation or asphyxiation. Usually working during the winter when, due to lower temperatures, gas emanations were less intense. Work for oil extraction was difficult, was made with great risk, demanding calm, will, courage and a long apprenticeship. In 1867 was established ‘’Compania româna pentru exploatarea si comertul cu pacura ‘’that exploited areas  in Moinesti ,Arinior Valley and Solont . Due to insufficient capital and massive penetration of foreign investment after the 1895 law, the company was taken by the ‘’Societatea Steaua Româna’’, founded in 1896 with an initial capital of 2.4 million belonging to a group of German investors, British and Austro-Hungarian. In 1903 the company entered in full control of the German capital represented by Deutsche Bank. As drilling technique in 1895, was introduced dry percussion drilling system of iron rods, a system that becomes the main method of drilling up to WWI. In 1906 at Tetcani was tried for the first time in the country hydraulic rotary drilling. At Moinesti because of the hard rocks, was maintained the method of digging through the shock with an advance no more than 1 m per day. However, due to skill of oilmens, the company has managed to drill well no. 24 up to 1070 m.As extraction technique at the Moinesti, where deposits were rich, was use free eruption. For capturing the oil a bell (called limza) was used mounted in the top of wooden derricks. As a result of using this method, the reservoir energy was depleted and the well abandoned, although it had oil. After stopping the the eruption they continue bailing extraction with the same facility . In 1909 was introduced oil extraction with piston, using primitive extraction pumps, with bodies of steel pipes and pistons sealed by gaskets of hemp rope.

Campina -Sondes de petrole

Sondes de petrole - Campina,1906.

Ploiesti - Creditul Minier

Section of Romania's rich Ploesti oil fields attacked by RAF in 1941.

Constanta oil terminal bombed

''Soviet Planes Strike At Constanta .Moscow radio stated yesterday that large forces of Russian long range planes attacked the Rumanian Black Sea port, rail junction and oil centre of Constanta on Tuesday night. Large fires, accompanied by explosions, broke out in the target area, and a consider able part of the port was enveloped in flames. Several fires were started in the oil centre area. Beater's agency points out that Constanta is the terminal of the pipeline from the Ploesti.''
Historical photos provided by Mrs.Oana Cornescu from Constanta.

Streams of blazing oil

''The Russian fleet twice bombarded. Constanta, aiming at the forts and oil tanks. 'The flaming benzine spread through the streets, and the whistling sea wind drove it through the city, the flames wiping out the docks, munitions depots, barracks, and enemy's staff offices. The fire lasted for two days. Officers drove the soldiers to fight the flames, but the Roumanians had re moved all the fire engines and appara-tus. The coastal and aerial defences fought the Russian fleet.''

The "Salamanders"

This is the story of the heroes in the fight for oil ,the men who toil that the world may have its petrol and its oil and kerosene. It is a story of hard ship and daring, of victory and defeat, of labor and death.Drilling for oil means months of monotonous work before the bed of oil is reached. This bed is a sort of sponge mingled strata of sand and porous rock, saturated with oil and gas. Its thickness is from 50 meters, which will give the average small oil well, to sometimes as much as a kilometer, for the greatest wells. When this sponge is pierced by the drill, the gas an accumulation over thousands of years escapes and drives the oil up through the casing of the drill. Sometimes this outlet of gas comes with terrific force, so that the oil shoots out in a swift gusher,throwing the drill, the casing, and perhaps even the derricks hundreds of meters away.To fight these fires specialists risk their lives for a high price in the event of success. Such men whose occupation is putting out oil fires are known as "salamanders" and very few of them live to be old men. Clad in asbestos suits, they venture into the fire zone, armed with bombs loaded with nitro glycerine, and cause an explosion near the point where the escaping gas has been ignited, so that the consequent inrush of air isolates the flame from the gas and puts out the fire. It only needs a piece of flint to strike the metal construction of the drilling apparatus, and sparks ignite the gas, sending a well up in flames that may not be subdued for months, years even. The drilled Well 160 RA in Moreni, Roumania, burnt for two years, as if fanned by some huge underground bellows, before American specialists finally succeeded in diverting the gas pressure and stopping the flames by the use of explosives. Not only is it at the oil wells that the menace of fire is always present. Tankers are treacherous, too. Elaborately protected as they are against fire and explosion, they have often gone up in flames. The men who serve on oil tankers are others in the legion of the oil armies who lead monotonous, but hazardous lives. Unsung heroes all men on tankers, nitroglycerine lorry drivers, "salamanders," they take their jobs out of necessity or adventure, and the world gets its oil. Few people know of them; few care and the battle for oil goes on. unchecked by death and disaster, always extending its front, always pushing on to greater victories.

Bombed oil tanks

Oil tank destroyed by the bombardments
Ploiesti & Targoviste,1916.