Fourteen Things You Didn’t Know About the Oil & Gas Industry

I have updated 14 current and historical facts about the oil & gas industry.  I hope they give you as much enjoyment as I had researching them:

1.  The birth of the modern oil industry is held by many to be Drake’s well in Pennsylvania in 1859.  The world’s first hand-drilled oil well was in Baku in 1848 (Russian Oil and Gas Institute).

2.  Estimates of the world’s gas hydrate resource vary from 10,000 trillion cubic feet to more than 100,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (EIA).  In comparison, total gas proved reserves at the end of 2014 stood at 6,605 trillion cubic feet (BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015).LNG Exports 3

3.  The production sharing contract, at least in its modern form, was introduced by Indonesia.  The so-called “Contract for Work” was implemented in 1960 (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies).

4.  Oil and gas companies invested $6521 billion in E&P capital projects in 2015 and further reductions are expected in 2016.  This would be only the second consecutive two-year reduction in spending seen in the last 31 years (Barclays Capital).

5.  The lowest average annual average crude oil price in the U.S. was $0.49/bbl in 1861 (EIA).  Brent hit an all-time low of $9.10/bbl on 10th December 1998 (EIA).

Turkey - 3 day MBA London page_285x100_scaled_cropp6.  OPEC was formed in September 1960.  The founding 5 members of OPEC were:  Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela (OPEC).

7.  Iceland is the world’s highest per capita consumer of energy at 16,679 kg oil equivalent per person per year (2013, World Bank).  The equivalent figure for the U.S. was 6,909kg, Japan 3,560kg and the U.K. 2,967kg.

8.  Shell’s Prelude FLNG is the largest floating offshore facility ever created.  The “ship” weighs in at 600,000 tonnes and has decks measuring 488 by 74 meters.  It has been built to process 3.6MTPA gas from the Prelude field off Australia’s north-west coast (Shell).

9.  The longest oil pipeline, Druzhba, is part of a huge pipeline network that stretches 5,327 km (3,329 miles) from eastern Russia to Germany (Pipelines International).


10.  Meanwhile, the world’s longest gas pipeline was commissioned in 2011. The imaginatively named West-East Pipeline runs from Huoerguosi on the China-Kazakhstan border, to Shanghai in east China and Hong Kong in south China.  It’s 8,704km long or 5,440 miles (Forbes).

11.  As of 7 March 2015 there are 1,761 drilling rigs active around the world, excluding the FSU or inland China (Baker Hughes).

12.  Transocean’s ultra-deepwater drillship Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 holds the world record for the deepest water depth by an offshore drilling rig.  The rig spudded a well in 10,411 feet (3,174 meters) of water while working for ONGC off the East coast of India in July 2013 (Transocean).

Africa13.  The word “petroleum” translates literally as “rock oil.” Petroleum comes from the Greek word “petra” meaning rock, and the Latin word “oleum” meaning oil.

14.  And finally, we are back to Drake in Pennsylvania in the 1850s.  It is commonly understood that the unit of measurement in the oil industry is barrels because a plentiful supply of old whiskey and beer barrels were to hand at first oil.  But where does the extra “b” in bbls come from?  Extensive research suggests that the additional “b” stands for blue, and that there is documented evidence that blue barrels were in use well before Drake’s time.

I hope you have enjoyed these oil & gas industry facts!


  1. Dear Angus

    Great blog! Congratulations.

    I look forward to meeting you at some point in the future.

    Kind regards


  2. Rune Bekken says:

    Great stuff Angus!

    Interesting fun facts for conversation starters here on the rig.

    Hope your courses are going good as well.


  3. Dear Angus,

    Keep the good work flowing.

    Look forward to attending another of your informative sessions this year.


  4. Robert Preston says:


    Thanks for the newsletter and I like your list of facts, here’s one more to add to your inventory’

    “Exxon Neftegas Ltd has completed drilling the world’s deepest well in the Chayvo oil field on the Sakhalin shelf in the Russian Far East. The shaft of well Z-44 is 12,376 meter deep, which is the equivalent to 15 times the height of the world tallest skyscraper the Burj Khalifa in Dubai”

  5. Andrew Fyffe says:

    Great blog!

    Very enjoyable. I look forward to more of them in 2014!


  6. Argus, you are so great. which to meet you soon. U have really broadened my horizon. Muyiwa

  7. Mahboob elahi says:

    Full of information snd and thought provoking
    A page from history and look into the future. Best wishes for 2014

  8. Very interesting compilation of facts. Thank you for your research.

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