An oily story
The United States is the first country that developed commercial oil fields and exported oil. The first oil field was discovered in the state of Pennsylvania in 1851. The problem was price competition. A year ago, the United Kingdom had acquired a patent for the refining process and started to distill coal to produce oil. To make a profit, they needed an economic way of digging deep into the soil. A Connecticut oil company solved the problem by developing an excavator by linking pipes. Finally, in August 1859, at 23 meters below the surface, a layer of oil was discovered. They could produce 30 barrels of oil a day. In 1861, the United States exported oil to the United Kingdom, becoming the first oil exporter in the world. At the end of the 19th century, they exported one-third of their oil to the United Kingdom, France and Germany. It is assumed that oil imported at the end of the Joseon Dynasty was also from the United States.
Today, oil is not used only for cars, airplanes and ships. Plastics, synthetics, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, medicine, film, ink, plastic bags, and asphalt are all chemical products made from oil. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all of modern civilization is sustained by oil. However, the general forecast is that oil resources will be depleted between 2030 and 2040. The recent surge in oil prices is painful to everyone. However, high oil prices are in themselves a way of responding to the drying up of oil resources. The only long-term solution is to expediently develop alternative fuel and energy sources.
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo
By Cho Hyun-wook [email@example.com]
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