Timeline of the past 50 years

Hart Energy's 50th anniversary reflects on the oil and gas industry's past and future in commodity markets, energy transition, M&A, finance, global energy, and technology. We follow the journey from the 1973 oil embargo to the shale revolution, exploring advancements in drill bits, hydraulic fracturing, and AI that have driven industry progress.

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In October, Arab members of OPEC cut off oil shipments to the U.S. and Western Europe to retaliate for support of Israel during the October War.

In November, President Richard Nixon announces Project Independence, aimed at eliminating oil imports by 1980. The focus is on bolstering domestic oil and gas production, nuclear energy and technology.

Don Hart, wife Jane and brother Bob, found Hart Publications. The first two products are Western Oil Reporter and Rocky Mountain Petroleum Directory, purchased from a publisher in Colorado.

Pictures of Western Oil Report and Rocky Mountain Petroleum Directory.


Construction begins on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.


Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed and transports first oil to market from the North Slope.


First offshore platform in more than 1,000 feet of water, Cognac, in the Gulf of Mexico, begins operations.


George P. Mitchell first experiments with hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett Shale.


Hart founds Oil and Gas Investor, a “National Geographic for the oil and gas industry.” The first issue focuses on the Williston Basin.


Veritas begins 3-D seismic processing.


T. Boone Pickens targets Gulf Oil in a “corporate raid” and agitates the board until Chevron acquires the company for $13 billion.


Mitchell Energy employs the first large hydraulic frac in a vertical well in the Barnett Shale.


An explosion and fire at the Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea causes history’s most lethal offshore disaster when 167 die.


The Exxon Valdez tanker strikes the Bligh Reef and spills 260,000 bbl of crude into Prince William Sound, Alaska, the second-worst marine spill in U.S. waters.


The first sub-salt discovery in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is made at Exxon’s Mississippi Canyon 211 No. 1.


Iraqi troops set fire to oil wells when they retreat from Kuwait during the Gulf War. It would take 16 firefighting teams eight months to cap 732 wells.


Thunder Horse Field was discovered in more than 6,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico’s Mississippi Canyon, Block 778.

Exxon and Mobil merge to create Exxon Mobil.


Hart Energy’s longest-running organic conference, A&D Strategies & Opportunities, begins in Dallas.


Natural gas sets record of $15.65/MMBtu on Dec. 13.


Crude sets record of $147.27/bbl on July 11, falls below $50/bbl on Nov. 20.


A blowout at the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico results in 11 deaths and the worst marine oil spill in history.

Hart Energy acquires Rextag Strategies, a mapping and GIS database services provider.


In December, Congress repeals the crude oil export ban.

Royal Dutch Shell acquires BG Group for $81 billion.


U.S. becomes the top petroleum producer in the world.


Oil price briefly goes negative during the COVID-19 pandemic economic slowdown.


Exxon Mobil announces acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources for $66 billion.