The first record mentioning oil from the Romanian province of Wallachia is dated 1517. In the beginning, crude oil exploitation simply meant collection from the shallow pits and ditches in the outcrops of the Sub-Carpathian area. The technique involved digging small holes where oil seeped and then was channelled through ditches towards a collecting pit. Deeper “oil mines” were dug by hand from the late 16th century to the 19th century. Some of these “oil mines” were over 30 meters deep.
The world’s first refinery.
Romania‘s first oil processing refinery in the 1840’s was a simple handmade equipment using rudimentary methods similar distilling alcohol in a rustic boiler. Distillation on industrial scale started in 1857 with the building of the Mehedinteanu Brothers refinery. The refinery installations were primitive, with all the equipment and cylindrical vessels were made from wrought iron and heated with wood fire. The industrial start of Romania’s oil industry is considered to be 1857 because of three world firsts that year.
The first country in the world to officially record petroleum production. Romania was the first country in the world to officially record an oil production of 275 tonnes in the international statistics. Romania was followed by official oil production from the United States in 1859, Italy in 1860, Canada in 1862 and Russia in 1863.
Bucharest, the world’s first city illuminated with kerosene.
Bucharest was illuminated with 1000 street lamps on 1st April 1857. The oil offered by Mehedinteanu brothers for public illumination had incontestable properties: colourless and with no smell, burning with a light flame with a constant intensity and shape, without smoke, ash or resin.
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