Petroleum Exploration History in North Dakota to 1951
Herz, Clarence Anthony
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The delayed discovery of oil in North Dakota resulted from remoteness, environment, and economic disadvantage, three of the six themes of Elwyn B. Robinson. Initially, lacking outside capital, the local explorers turned to their communities from 1917 to 1935 to raise the capital necessary to search for oil. As a result a complex group united to raise the capital necessary, but did not discover oil. The Great Depression ushered in the era of outside capital from 1937 to the successful discovery of oil on April 4, 1951. During this entire exploration period the state legislature, restricted by a lack of tax revenue, was unable to properly fund the North Dakota Geologic Survey. The survey achieved only marginal success throughout this exploration period. This history of early petroleum exploration not only enhances public knowledge but also lays the groundwork for further research toward a complete history of the industry.