GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 141-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


BRICE, William R., 116 Luna Lane, Johnstown, PA 15904-3068,

Just as the 21st century oil and gas industry, primarily in the United States, has employed hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking” or “fracing,” to increase production, so too did the industry in the middle to late 1800s. Only a few years after Edwin Drake brought in his now-famous well, processes developed in Pennsylvania to increase oil production soon spread to oil fields around the world. Just as the early oil producers had borrowed drilling techniques and equipment from the water well drilling industry, when they ran into problems with oil well production, they borrowed the technique of using down-hole explosives from that same industry; essentially developing the first “fracking” of oil and gas wells. This presentation will present a brief overview of the development of the oil and gas industry, with an emphasis on the Pennsylvania region, and expand on the development of techniques to increase production through the use of down-hole explosives, the initial “fracking” process, and its overall effect on the early industry.