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July 22, 2013

The powers of oil have been drawn upon since as far back as 6th Century BC, where oil was used in weaponry to aid the battles of the army of Kir II, first shah of Achaemenid Empire (in what is present day Iran).

While domestic heating oil users may simply see oil as the energy source they need to fire-up their boilers or AGAs, oil has had a number of varied uses throughout the centuries. Here are just a few.

1273: Venetian explorer Marco Polo described visiting the Persian city of Baku (in modern Azerbaijan), where oil and was collected from seeps - fissures where crude oil naturally seeps out of – for use in lighting and medicine.

1500s: Oil that is collected from seeps in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland are used to light street lamps in the Polish town of Krosno.

1723: Special decrees are issued for the order of oil extraction by Russian tsar Peter the Great to major-general Michael Matyushkin, who governed Baku, stating that he should send "one thousand poods of white oil or as much as possible, and to look for increase in production".

1803: First offshore oil field reported at Bibi-Heybat Bay, of the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan). These were located between 18 and 30 metres away from the shoreline and hand dug.

1849: Method of distilling kerosene from crude oil created by Canadian physician and geologist Abraham Gesner.

1893: First oil well drilled in Los Angeles, California.

1934: Caspian Sea said to home of the first floating drilling rig.

1948: Ghawar Field – the world’s largest conventional oil field – discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1969: Oil discovered in the North Sea. Oil production begins seven years later.

1986: Following a fall in demand after the 1970s Energy Crisis, and a surplus of crude oil, oil prices plummeted from $27 per barrel to less than $10 a barrel.


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