Oil150.com
  • Home »
  • About Oil »
  • Early Crude Oil Production Levels and Pricing

Early Crude Oil Production Levels and Pricing

1858 | 1859 | 1860 | 1861 | 1862 | 1863 | 1864 | 1865 | 1866 | 1867 | 1868 | 1869 | 1870 | 1871 | 1872 | 1873 | 1874 | 1875 | 1876 | 1877 | 1878 | 1879 | 1880 | 1881 | 1882 | 1883 | 1884 | 1885 | 1886 | 1887 | 1888 | 1889 | 1890 | 1891 | 1892 | 1893 | 1894 | 1895 |

North American Crude Oil Production Comparison
1858 – 1873

Crude oil production numbers in the nineteenth century are at best just informed estimates. The numbers listed in this table are generally based on the compiled records of crude oil shipped from the wellhead by pipeline companies, railroads, water transport and by wagon. The early year numbers are not well documented nor are they corroborated by other competent sources. The U. S. Geological Survey is the primary source for American numbers. These numbers after 1870 are corroborated and validated by the extensive records of the American gathering pipeline companies. A high degree of confidence can be assumed with the American numbers after 1870.

Various excess production events are not reflected in these numbers. For example, a substantial amount of the first months production from the big flowing wells on Oil Creek in the fall of 1861 could not be stored or shipped and simply ran off into Oil Creek. How much crude was lost is not known. One nineteenth century observer reported huge losses of Canadian crude on Black Creek in Enniskillen Township in 1862 when the local inhabitants drilled with no real purpose or market available. This immense amount of crude ran down the creek to Lake Erie. Eventually, a great fire consumed this Black Creek oil. Fires deliberately set by Confederate raiders destroyed the big flowing wells at and around Burning Springs, West Virginia after the Burning Springs wells had produced 95,000 barrels of crude in 1861 and 70,000 barrels in 1862. As late as 1878 and ’79, the Bradford Era and the Oil City Derrick were reporting 5,000 barrels every day of Bradford crude were running to waste on the ground due to lack of sufficient storage tank capacity and trunkline railroad capacity out of the Pennsylvania Oil Region. It is clear, the numbers in this table do not reflect the absolute total production of any of the fields, but they do reflect in general what was recorded in good faith by competent observers of the time.

1858

Pennsylvania 1,200 barrels
(Skimmed from salt wells around Tarentum.)

West Virginia Unknown Amount
(Skimmed from salt wells; excavated oil seeps.)

Canada Unknown Amount
(Produced from oil seeps at Oil Springs, Enniskillen, Township, Lambton County.)

top

1859

Pennsylvania 4,450 barrels
(George Bissell in a letter from Titusville to his wife in New York dated November 1859 stated the Drake Well was producing 1,000 to 1,200 gallons a day, or about 25 barrels a day. Bissell in the same letter indicated a fire shut the Drake Well down in October. Assuming the Drake Well produced no more than 90 days in 1859, the well produced about 2,250 barrels in 1859. Two other wells in or near Franklin, the Evans and the Hoover, produced collectively about 1,000 barrels in the last part of the year. The salt wells around Tarentum produced approximately 1,200 barrels. Crude oil markets were readily available in Pittsburgh, Erie and New York.)

West Virginia Unknown Amount
(Skimmed from salt wells and excavated oil seeps. Oil wells drilled at Petroleum on Oil Spring Run in Ritchie County began producing in the summer.)

Canada Unknown Amount
(Williams Well at Oil Springs, Enniskillen Township flows at 60 barrels a day.)

top

1860

Pennsylvania 220,000 barrels
(The Venango Spectator documented and reported that on one day in November the Pennsylvania Oil Region produced collectively over 1,100 barrels. Assuming 200 days of production at that level throughout 1860, the estimate of production for the year is a conservative 220,000 barrels.)

West Virginia Unknown amount
(S.D. Karns Well at Burning Springs pumps 30 barrels a day. The Rathbone Well at Burning Springs flows at 100 barrels a day.)

Ohio Unknown Amount
(James Dutton drills successful well on Dutton Creek opening Macksburg Field in Washington County.)

Canada 118,000 barrels
(Production at Oil Springs not recorded. In 1928, R. B. Harkness, estimated the total production from Oil Springs field from 1858 through 1916 was 7,000,000 barrels. The 59 year annual average was about 118,000 barrels.)

top

1861

Pennsylvania 2,114,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.
(No documented record available. U. S. Geological Survey in 1875 estimated total West Virginia production from 1859 through 1874 was 3,000,000 barrels. The average annual production for this 16 year period was about 187,500 barrels.)

Ohio 13,000 bls.
(No documented record available. U. S. Geological Survey in 1875 estimated total Ohio Macksburg Field production from 1860 through 1874 was 200,000 barrels. The average annual production for this 15 year period was about 13,000 barrels.)

Canada 118,000 bls.

top

1862

Pennsylvania 3,057,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 118,000 bls

top

1863

Pennsylvania 2,611,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 118,000 bls.

top

1864

Pennsylvania 2,116,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 118,000 bls.

top

1865

Pennsylvania 2,498,000 bls.

West Virginia 187, 500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 118,000 bls.

top

1866

Pennsylvania 3,598,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.
(In addition to the wells at Oil Springs, new wells at Petrolia, Enniskillen Township were brought into production. R. B. Harkness in 1928 estimated the accumulated total production of Petrolia wells from 1866 through 1916 was 14,500,000 barrels, or an annual average for this 51 year period of about 285,000 barrels. Adding this annual Petrolia average with the Oil Springs annual production of 118,000 barrels gives a combined Canadian annual total from 1866 through 1916 of 403,000 barrels.)

California 17,500 bls.
(Thomas Bard drilled the first significant commercial well near Ventura. Wildcat operations commenced from Ventura to Humboldt County. From 1866 through 1875, California’s total crude production was estimated to be 175,000 barrels, or 17,500 barrels a year.)

top

1867

Pennsylvania 3,347,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls

California 17,500 bls.

top

1868

Pennsylvania 3,646,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

top

1869

Pennsylvania 4,215,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls

California 17,500 bls.

top

1870

Pennsylvania 5,261,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,000 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

top

1871

Pennsylvania 5,205,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,000 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

top

1872

Pennsylvania 6,293,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,000 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

top

1873

Pennsylvania 9,894,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

top

North American and Russian Crude Oil Production Comparison
1874 – 1895

1874

Pennsylvania 10,927,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

Russia (Baku Field) 480,000 bls

top

1875

Pennsylvania 8,788,000 bls.

West Virginia 187,500 bls.

Ohio 13,000 bls.

Canada 408,000 bls.

California 17,500 bls.

Russia 570,000 bls.

top

1876

Pennsylvania 8,969,000 bls.

West Virginia (recorded) 120,000 bls.

Ohio (recorded) 32,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California (recorded) 12,000 bls.

Russia 1,300,000 bls.

top

1877

Pennsylvania 13,135,000 bls.

West Virginia 172,000 bls.

Ohio 30,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 13,000 bls.

Russia 1,500,000 bls.

top

1878

Pennsylvania 15,163,000 bls.

West Virginia 180,000 bls.

Ohio 38,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 15,000 bls.

Russia 1,900,000 bls.

top

1879

Pennsylvania 19,685,000 bls.

West Virginia 180,000 bls.

Ohio 29,112 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 20,000 bls.

Russia 2,400,000 bls.

top

1880

Pennsylvania 26,027,000 bls.

West Virginia 179,000 bls.

Ohio 39,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 41,000 bls.

Russia 2,500,000 bls.

top

1881

Pennsylvania & New York 27,377,000 bls.

West Virginia 151,000 bls.

Ohio 34,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 100,000 bls.

Russia 3,900,000 bls.

top

1882

Pennsylvania & New York 30,054,000 bls.

West Virginia 128,000 bls.

Ohio 40,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 128,636 bls.

Russia 4,900,000 bls.

top

1883

Pennsylvania & New York 23,128,000 bls.

West Virginia 126,000 bls.

Ohio 48,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 143,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Russia 5,800,000 bls.

top

1884

Pennsylvania & New York 23,772,000 bls.

West Virginia 90,000 bls.

Ohio 90,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 262,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 4,000 bls.

Russia 9,800,000 bls.

top

1885

Pennsylvania & New York 20,776,000 bls.

West Virginia 91,000 bls.

Ohio (Includes Lima Field) 662,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 325,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Russia 13,000,000 bls.

top

1886

Pennsylvania & New York 25,798,000 bls.

West Virginia 102,000 bls.

Ohio 1,783,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 377,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Russia 18,000,000 bls.

top

1887

Pennsylvania & New York 22,356,000 bls.

West Virginia 145,000 bls.

Ohio 5,022,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 679,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Colorado 76,000 bls.

Russia 18,500,000 bls.

top

1888

Pennsylvania & New York 16,489,000 bls.

West Virginia 119,000 bls.

Ohio 10,010,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 690,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Colorado 298,000 bls.

Russia 23,000,000 bls.

top

1889

Pennsylvania & New York 21,487,000 bls.

West Virginia 544,000 bls.

Ohio 12,471,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 303,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 5,000 bls.

Colorado 316,000 bls.

Indiana 33,000 bls.

Russia 23,500,000 bls.

top

1890

Pennsylvania & New York 28,458,000 bls.

West Virginia 493,000 bls.

Ohio 16,125,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 6,000 bls,

Colorado 369,000 bls.

Indiana 63,000 bls.

Russia 30,000,000 bls.

top

1891

Pennsylvania & New York 33,009,000 bls.

West Virginia 2,406,000 bls.

Ohio 17,470,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls,

California 323,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 9,000 bls.

Colorado 665,000 bls.

Indiana 137,000 bls.

Russia 35,000,000 bls.

top

1892

Pennsylvania & New York 28,422,000 bls.

West Virginia 3,810,000 bls.

Ohio 16,363,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 385,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 7,000 bls.

Colorado 824,000 bls.

Indiana 698,000 bls.

Russia 36,000,000 bls.

top

1893

Pennsylvania & New York 20,314,000 bls.

West Virginia 8,445,000 bls.

Ohio 16,250,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 470,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 3,000 bls.

Colorado 594,000 bls.

Indiana 2,335,000 bls.

Russia 40,000,000 bls.

top

1894

Pennsylvania & New York 19,020,000 bls.

West Virginia 8,578,000 bls.

Ohio 16,792,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

California 706,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 1,500 bls

Colorado 516,000 bls.

Indiana 3,689,000 bls.

Kansas 40,000 bls.

Russia 38,000,000 bls.

top

1895

Pennsylvania & New York 19,144,000 bls.

West Virginia 8,120,000 bls.

Ohio 19,545,000 bls.

Canada 403,000 bls.

Kentucky & Tennessee 1,500 bls.

California 1,208,000 bls.

Colorado 438,000 bls.

Indiana 4,386,000 bls.

Kansas 44,000 bls.

Russia 46,000,000 bls.

top

Compiled by Neil McElwee

SOURCES:
Boyle, P. C., The Derrick’s Handbook of Petroleum, Vol. I, Oil City, 1898
Boyle, P. C., The Derrick’s Handbook of Petroleum, Vol. II, Oil City, 1900
Whiteshot, Charles, The Oil Well Driller, Mannington, 1905
Williamson, Harold and Daum, Arnold R., The American Petroleum Industry, The Age of Illumination 1859-1899, Evanston,1959

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North American Estimated Oil Production and Average Price Per Barrel
1860 – 1873

1860 0.5 million barrels $ 9.60
1861 2.1 million barrels $ 0.50
1862 3.0 million barrels $ 1.00
1863 2.6 million barrels $ 3.00
1864 2.1 million barrels $ 8.25
1865 2.5 million barrels $ 6.75
1866 3.6 million barrels $ 3.75
1867 3.3 million barrels $ 2.50
1868 3.6 million barrels $ 3.50
1869 4.2 million barrels $ 5.50
1870 5.2 million barrels $ 4.00
1871 5.2 million barrels $ 4.50
1872 6.3 million barrels $ 3.75
1873 9.9 million barrels $ 1.85

Excerpted from:
Oil Creek… The Beginning
A History and Guide to the Early Oil Industry in Pennsylvania
Author: Neil McElwee
Oil Creek Press, Oil City, PA
2001

originally printed in:
Williamson, Harold F. and Arnold R. Daum, The American Petroleum Industry, The Age of Illumination 1859-1899, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1959

top