I like fossil fuels. Please don’t misunderstand, I like solar, wind and hydro sources of power also. I appreciate that coal oil and kerosene were much better sources of light and power than whale oil. Gasoline was an improvement on those, but each required oil. In the early twentieth century oil was searched for and discovered in various sections of the United States. Until the end of World War Two, the United States imported very little oil. Imports began to rise dramatically from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. Then, in 1973 there was the oil embargo.
In Alaska, oil had been used for thousands of years. Iñupiat people at Iniskin Bay and Cold Bay on the Alaska Peninsula mined peat that was saturated with oil. They used it for both heat and light. The substance was referred to as pitch, but whalers who frequented the area recognized it as petroleum. The Hudson Bay Company documented its existence in 1836. In 1919, similar seepages were documented at the Canning River. During the 125 years that Russia occupied the area no attempt was made to recover oil. In 1898 the first Alaska wells were drilled on the Iniskin Peninsula, striking a small amount of oil.
Alaska’s first productive oil drilling operation was at Katalla in about 1900…
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