Today's world would easily assume that oil is a source of energy as recent as the 19th century when the first commercial oil well was drilled by a retired conductor named Edwin Drake, who used a steam engine to reach a certain depth in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Yet, the traces of oil product usage date well back to the ancient world, the times of Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. Early historiography recorded the uses of asphalt in road building in Babylonian times. Moreover, the earliest and simple oil wells were registered in around the fourth century A.D. in China, where oil was a secondary commodity burned for brine evaporation to produce the most important ancient commodity, salt.
It was, however, in the second half of the 19th century that initiated the widespread industrial and commercial use of oil mainly for energy generation as fuel as we know it today. Its discovery and extraction spread around the world across Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and Middle Eastern countries. With the accelerating production of oil, which reached around 175,000 barrels per day in the early 1900s in the U.S., and the establishment of large-scale oil extracting, industry-leading transportation and trading companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil and Anglo-Persian Oil Company felt the necessity to gather under a supra-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of sustainable management and use of the global petroleum resources for the benefit of all.
In 1933, Thomas Dewhurst, then-president of the Institution of Petroleum Technologies, organized the first event known today as the World Petroleum Congress (WPC). Since its inauguration, the WPC has grown in to the most monumental and prestigious event in the global oil and gas industry, characterized as the "Olympics" of the petroleum sector.
Bringing the energy policy makers and prominent names of the sector leaders together for the 22nd time, the triennial World Petroleum Congress this year in Istanbul aims to provide a forum for the discussion of sustainable management of available resources by the energy sector and government representatives.
Speaking to Daily Sabah for the special coverage of the event, WPC Executive Committee Member and Member of the WPC Turkish National Committee Burcu Günal stressed that from a general point of view the 22nd WPC asserts that governments, the energy industry, scholars and society must cooperate.
"Partnerships, innovative applications and creative solutions will form the foundation of this cooperation through the support of global policies on energy efficiency," she told, emphasizing the necessity to highlight the aim to ensure a cleaner, safer and less costly energy production with the help of low carbon emission solutions, infrastructure development and continuous development.
"Fully aware of these objectives," Günal said, "the 22nd WPC convenes the leaders of the energy industry and provides a forum to debate on the current issues, developments and solutions for a sustainable energy future." Welcoming more than 5,000 delegates and 20,000 visitors, this year's event informs future generations about decision-making processes and must-have values and liabilities while offering sector representatives great opportunities for improving corporate governance, exchanging operational experience and discussing business development, she highlighted.