Local Oil & Gas History

Oil is one of the most important resources of contemporary world. Discovering new oil resources is one of the biggest challenges today, with the exhaustion of present resources being an issue of hot debates.

In 2007, Romania celebrated the 150th anniversary of its oil industry, a long-standing tradition that has been very profitable for the Romanian economy. For a long time, in fact, the oil industry was the most important industrial domain in Romania.

In 1857, Romania was:

  • The first country in the world with a petroleum production officially registered in the international statistics.

    "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.

  • The world's first refinery

    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.

  • Bucharest, the world's first city public illuminated with kerosene

    On April 1st, 1857, Bucharest was illuminated by 1000 lamps lit with a colorless gas with no smell, burning with a light flame, with a constant intensity and shape, without smoke and without ash or resinous compounds in the wick.

By 1914, Romania was producing 1,783,947 tones of oil being one of the most important registered oil producers in the world. The center of oil production, Ploiesti was the most bombed city by the Allied Troops during Tidal Waves Operation, August 1943.

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Firsts in Romania:

  • The deepest oil well drilled in Romania

    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)

  • Romania was the first country in the world which exported gasoline from the 1900's

Today, Romania has a total integrated oil industry. The extraction, processing, storage and distribution chain is complete.

Possessing substantial oil refining capacities, Romania is particularly interested in the Central Asia-Europe pipelines and seeks to strengthen its relations with all world producers. With 10 refineries and an overall refining capacity of approximately 5,504,000 bbl/d (875,100 m3/d), Romania has the largest refining industry in the region.

Romania's refining capacity exceeds by far the domestic demand for refined petroleum products, allowing the country to export a wide range of oil products and petrochemicals, - such as lubricants, bitumen, and fertilizers -- throughout the region.

Special attention has been focused on the formation of oil & gas professionals. Romania has a long-term established educational tradition and name in this field. In 1904, the first world's School of Driller Foremen was founded at Campina, school that was diversified later for training the distiller foreman. The school has given to the Romanian oil industry high professional preparation foreman, asked even from 1914 to work abroad.

In the 70's, the Romanian engineers and specialists prove once again the high level of their competence, technical knowledge in the Middle East, and particularly in Iraq, where they were sent not only to coordinate and supervise oil & gas projects, but to contribute to the development of the oil & gas industry in this country.

The interest for off-shore drilling in the continental platform of the Black Sea was materialized for the first time in 1967, when the Romanian Government approved two major projects: one for geological prospect and the second one for off-shore drilling. The first jack-up rig "Gloria" was built in 1976. The project was partially financed by an American offshore company and was under the close technical supervision of the American Shipping Bureau. The jack-up was designed to drill up to 90m deep.

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Currently the Romanian offshore jack-up fleet operates for different oil & gas companies, in various locations (Persian Gulf, Black Sea, etc). The rigs are undergoing extensive modernization and upgrading. Seven multi-purpose vessels are under construction. Another $1,100 mil are going to be invested in building two independent three-legged jack-ups for 400 feet water depth and a new DP3 multipurpose vessel.

Romanian oil & gas industry in figures:

  • 5 Oil & Gas Universities and over 38 Oil & Gas High Schools all around Romania;
  • 10 refineries with a refining capacity of more than 12 mill. to/year;
  • An annual crude distillation capacity of about 680,000 bbl/d;
  • Over 15,000 oil and gas wells with a production of:
    • Oil 44.76 mill. bbl/year;
    • Gas 202.1 bill. cf/year;
    • Gasoline 984.2 thousand bbl/year;
    • Ethane 569.2 thousand bbl/year.