The World Petroleum Industry: It All Started in Pennsylvania

The modern petroleum industry is a vast and complex association of multinational corpora­tions, producing countries, consumers and other inter­acting elements. The petroleum milieu is often identified and equated with the largest oil companies, “the seven sis­ters”: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Gulf, British Petroleum, Mobil, Standard of California, and Texaco. As if to empha­size the...
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Barbara T. Zolli on “A Drop of Oil”

Crude oil, found in abundance in northwestern Pennsylvania, held out many possibilities by the mid-nineteenth century. It burned when ignited, served as a practical lubricant, was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been used for various purposes by generations of Native Americans. That it might be in ample supply became apparent to many locals when it oozed from the ground and...
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