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Workers digging an oil well by hand at Bibi-Eibat (Azerbaijan).
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On July 14, 1848 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Major Alekseev supervised the completion of a 20+ meter well, reaching a small pocket of crude oil, thus establishing the world’s very first oil well. The process used was an archaic technique known as cable-tool drilling, employed for hundreds of years in ancient China. Major Alekseev acted under the instruction of governor-general Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, who in a memo wrote:


“I hereby authorize oil exploration in the Bibi-Eybat sector, Baku district, Caspian Sea by means of earth drills and allocate 1,000 roubles for this purpose.”


Just over a decade later, Edwin Drake finished work on the first oil well on American soil, in 1859 in Pennsylvania.

"Even though the oil flow was not large, the precedent was more important: in 1846, for the first time in the world, drilling for oil to positive effect had been completed" - Historian V.A. Matishev
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Workers digging an oil well by hand at Bibi-Eibat (Azerbaijan).

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