Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.



THE inauguration of the first boring for petroleum in this country, which took place at Hardstoft, near Chesterfield, on October 15, was an event of more than economic interest by reason of the confirmation it may afford of the speculations of competent oilfield geologists of the existence of oil in this country. Forty American drillers are engaged on the first boring, but provision of the necessary plant for drilling ten wells has been made; seven of these drillings are to be made in the vicinity of Chesterfield. Each of the wells will be fully equipped for a maximum depth of 4000 ft., and the principal occurrence of oil is expected to lie between 2000 ft. and this maximum. Lord Cowdray, to whom the nation is so much indebted for the assistance he has rendered in this pioneer work, claimed that althougti in America such experimental drilling woufd be known as “wild-catting,” yet it was more than justified by to-day's knowledge, but was not a case for exaggerated hopes. Such a word of caution was very necessary, for it is so customary to think of oil-wells as yielding prodigious quantities that the low average of some five tons a day per well throughout the world is not realised. Last year the importation of oil into this country was valued at more than 36,000,000L. Even if all the ten wells yielded the above average, the contribution to our national requirements would be very little, and the present enterprise must be regarded more as exploratory than as likely to furnish any adequate proportion of our requirements.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Notes . Nature 102, 149–153 (1918).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing