Oil and Gas History of Kentucky: A Timeline

Contact: Brandon C. Nuttall

Central Power Unit Central power was a common
method of producing oil.

An industry doesn't spring fully developed from a single event. Thus, it is very difficult to claim to be the "first" of anything. This timeline represents notes I have compiled for a narrative of the petroleum history of Kentucky. It traces the development of the oil and gas industry from before the Drake Well in Pennsylvania to recent events. While the timeline focuses on Kentucky, the history is necessarily expanded to include significant (in my opinion) events and provide an overview and context for those events. As for claims of being "first," I will state with reasonable assurance that the Beatty well, drilled 1818, was the first commercial oil well in Kentucky.

Other Links


I'd like to thank John Harper of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Sam Pees of the Drake Foundation, Lee Avery of the West Virginia Survey, Ron McDonald and Larry Wickstrom of the Ohio Survey, Gerry Friedman, and Art Van Tyne of New York for their comments, contributions, and encouragement.

Brandon C. Nuttall
© 2003, 2004 Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky
Created 10-June-2003,