Monumental Accomplishment In McKenzie County On This Date In 1930
The first major discovery of petroleum in North Dakota was back in 1951. Petroleum was discovered in a wheat field on the Clarence Iverson farm near Tioga in Williams County. This first oil-producing well was called Clarence Iverson No. 1. From 1951 to 1980, that one well produced 585,000 barrels of oil. This was arguably one of the biggest things for North Dakota, and the rest is history.
Since we are talking about some historical events for the Peace Garden State, it's only fitting to go a bit deeper on the subject of early exploration oil. The North Dakota State Historical Society has an entry for today, February 16. The deepest oil well in the state (at the time) was drilled to a depth of 15,135 feet. This was accomplished in McKenzie County by Amerada Petroleum Corp. -- Antelope Al located at Lot 13, Section 152-95. This was one of several early wells, but it didn't really produce as much as it was hoped to.
When you factor in all the tools that were needed, and the fairly limited knowledge of oil exploration at the time, that was a major accomplishment back in the day. In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a wide range of equipment in the oil fields (the "oil patch"). Drilling rigs were powered by steam, gas, and newer ones were powered by electricity. This added to the excitement of an industry expanding to meet skyrocketing demands. And what makes it even more special is that it happened in our back yard.