Friday Flashback – March 18th 2016

March 18, 2016

My favorites from the American Oil and Gas Historical Society‘s This week in Oil and Gas History:  First Commercial Frac (1949), The Lake View Gusher (1909).

March 17, 1949 – First Commercial Application of Hydraulic Fracturing


The first commercial hydraulic fracturing job (above) took place in 1949 about 12 miles east of Duncan, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy Halliburton.

Experts from Halliburton and Stanolind companies converge on an oil well about 12 miles east of Duncan, Oklahoma, and perform the first commercial application of hydraulic fracturing.

A 1947 experimental well had fractured a natural gas field in Hugoton, Kansas, and proven the possibility of increased productivity.

The technique had been developed and patented by Stanolind (later known as Pan American Oil Company) and an exclusive license issued to Halliburton to perform the process. In 1953, the license was extended to all qualified service companies.

The earliest attempts to increase a well’s petroleum production began in the 1860s. See Shooters – A ‘Fracking’ History.

March 14, 1909 – The Lake View Gusher – Midway Sunset, CA


A monument near the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California, marks the site of a 1910 gusher that flowed out of control for 18 months.

“The San Joaquin Valley has had many gushers, starting with the Shamrock gusher in 1896 and continuing with the spectacular Midway Gusher in 1909,” notes The Lakeview Gusher website by San Joaquin geologists.

“But none of these wells came close to rivaling the Lakeview No. 1 which flowed, uncapped and untamed, at 18,000 barrels a day for 18 months in 1910 and 1911,” the geologists note.

The Lakeview No. 1 discovery, which becomes America’s most famous gusher after Spindletop Hill made headlines in 1901, is brought under control in October 1910. Invention of the blowout preventer in 1922 will greatly advance Ending Oil Gushers – BOP.


For more moments from this week in Oil and Gas history, check out the American Oil and Gas Historical Society’s weekly post here.

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