History of Petroleum Technology

SPE’s History of Petroleum Engineering Technology tells a story of the evolution of technological innovation in obtaining energy from oil and natural gas resources by the people who made it all happen.

World’s first oil well drilled at Baku, Azerbaijan. 1847
World’s first oil well drilled at Baku, Azerbaijan. 1847

The site includes Oral Histories from some of petroleum engineering’s most notable engineers and scientists, a Timeline of Technological Milestones and Innovation, and links to game-changing Technical Papers. Explore the History of Petroleum Engineering Technology and discover for yourself how the evolution of innovation in the petroleum engineering industry unfolded, and what this innovation over the last 200 years has meant to improving the quality of life for people around the world.

Technology Timeline

Petroleum Technology The technology timeline displays key technological innovations made in the petroleum engineering industry since the beginning of the 19th Century.

Scroll through the timeline to learn more about the individuals, companies, and technologies that have played key roles in petroleum engineering over the last 200 years.


Oral Histories

Oral History Archives Watch as some of the oil and gas industry’s most significant contributors discuss the impact that innovation and technology have made in meeting the challenges of producing energy faster, cheaper, and safer in the 20th century. Hear their stories.

Add to the archive.  Share your story.


Engineering and Technology History Wiki

Explore thousands of articles, first hand accounts, oral histories, milestones, archival documents and lesson plans pertaining to the history of technology. Developed by a partnership between the United Engineering Foundation, AIChE, AIME, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, SPE and SWE. www.ethw.org