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Fun Facts Every Oklahoman Should Know 


What is oil?
Oil, or petroleum, is a naturally occurring substance made up of a mixture of hydrogen and carbon compounds. Hydrocarbons occur as liquids, gases or solids.
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How is petroleum created?
Petroleum originated from marine plants and animals that decayed over time under ocean silt, sand or other materials. Millions of years, extreme pressure and heat transformed the material into petroleum. 
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When was the first oil well discovered?
In 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, Col. Edwin Drake drilled the first oil well. The discovery at 69.5 feet in the Oil Creek formation was significant in that it demonstrated the practicality in drilling. The first commercial well in Oklahoma, the Nellie Johnstone No. 1, was drilled in Bartlesville in 1897 beneath Indian Territory soil. 
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Are we running out of oil?
Fossil fuels supply almost 95 percent of the world's energy, even though hydro, nuclear and geothermal energy use has tripled since 1970. According to American Petroleum Institute statistics, world proven oil reserves are estimated at well over 1 trillion barrels, enough to last almost 50 years at current rates of consumption. In fact, for many years, on average, more oil has been discovered than has been used, so proven reserves today are the largest they have ever been. 
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What about the environment?
The oil and natural gas industry spends more than $10 billion annually to protect the environment worldwide. That's as much as the top 300 oil and natural gas companies earn in profits and more than the entire industry spends searching for oil and natural gas in the United States. The OERB is the nation's first voluntary oilfield site cleanup program and it is funded entirely by Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry. 
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How is petroleum used?
Much of our high standard of living can be traced to the use of petroleum. Thousands of products are produced from petroleum including many types of transportation fuels, industrial fuels and chemicals, residential fuels, lubricants, waxes, asphalt, fertilizers, pesticides, photographic film, plastics and medicine. 
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Are oil and natural gas still important to Oklahoma?
Oil and natural gas combined remain Oklahoma's top industry. Each day, 200,000 barrels of oil and 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas are produced from nearly 125,000 wells in 72 of our state's 77 counties. More than 500,000 wells have been drilled in Oklahoma. The oil and natural gas industry is by far the state's largest, employing more than 71,000 people. The total value of Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry in 2009 was more than $51.7 billion.
Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas have averaged nearly $1 billion annually since 2005.
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How is petroleum made into usable products?
Before petroleum can be used, it must go through a process called refining. Oklahoma has five oil refineries and 73 natural gas processing plants. Through refining, oil is heated until it separates into many different parts. These parts are then used to make products like gasoline, jet fuel, heating fuel, tar and plastics. Natural gas is much easier to refine. It is cleaned and then a harmless odor, called mercaptan, is added for safety reasons. 
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What nonrenewable energy source is abundant in Oklahoma?
Petroleum (oil and natural gas) is considered a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form. Oklahoma is the nation's fifth leading producer of oil (3.6% of U.S. production) and the fourth leading producer of natural gas (8.2% of U.S. production). Oklahoma
currently produces petroleum in 72 of its 77 counties. 
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