Oil Field Engine News

The Polish Oil Industry

| December 2006

In the April 2006 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, the Oil Field Engine News column spoke of early oil production in the world and the Drake oil well in Titusville, Pa. I've enjoyed the Drake Museum - I've been there three times. I've also been to the Bóbrka Museum of the oil industry in Bóbrka (boo-bor-kah), Poland.

I've put this article off for months, one of the reasons being that I had to translate parts of the museum guide book from Polish to English.

I was in Poland visiting the village where my grandfather came from (Podniebyle), and Bóbrka was nearby. My driver spoke little English and I had a lot of miles to travel that day, so I was only at the museum 30 to 45 minutes. Bóbrka is such a historical, fascinating place that I had to prepare and share this with the readers of GEM. I couldn't find some of the towns mentioned in the report on a map (Polance, Lwowa, etc.). Perhaps after the world wars, they no longer existed.

The following is a brief summary of the Polish oil industry to 1914, taken from the museum booklet Bóbrka i okolice:

Bóbrka is the cradle of the oil industry. In 1854, Ignacy Lukasiewicz contrived an oil lamp after founding a method of distilling crude oil. The extraction process that began here formed an industry that became a key branch of world commerce during the second half of the 19th century.

For over 150 years from when the production of rock oil began in Bóbrka, till today, she remains a living witness of Polish technology and organization. Created on the actual grounds of oil production, the Bóbrka Museum of Oil Industry recalls the beginning of the oil industry and its evolution. Located in the Podkarpackie region of southern Poland on a huge deposit, the area is still a source of crude oil and natural gas.