Native Americans and early Europeans harvested oil from petroleum seeps in northwestern Pennsylvania for use in medicinal purposes, lamp fuel and machinery lubrication.  The American oil industry began in 1859 along the banks of Oil Creek in Venango County, Pennsylvania when Edwin Drake drilled the first well specifically for oil. Pennsylvania now produces little crude oil. Oil producers operate 19,000 wells in Pennsylvania to produce 3.6 million barrels of Pennsylvania Grade crude oil annually largely used for lubrication and equipment maintenance.

Exploration for and production of petroleum, however, have caused local detrimental impacts to soils, surface water and ground water, and ecosystems.  Care should be taken to mitigate these negative impacts when searching or drilling for oil.

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