Texas Oil and Gas

How the oil and natural gas industry in Texas impacts the country and the world

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Texas Oil and Gas brings together the history of the oil boom with engaging scientific content and interactivity to share the story of how oil changed Texas.

American Indians discovered oil seeping from the soils of Texas long before the first Europeans arrived. Though they told explorers the fluid had medicinal values, the first record of Europeans using crude oil was for boat caulking during the 16th century. In the early days of petroleum prospecting in Texas, most oil finds were the result of digging or drilling near known oil and gas seeps.

Since the first major oil strike at Spindletop in 1901, Texans have been harnessing this oozy, gooey substance to fuel nearly every element of our daily lives. Today, nearly 40% of the nation's oil comes from Texas. Over 285,000 active oil and gas wells produce an average of 4.1 million barrels of oil and 24 billion cubic feet of gas a day.

Inside the Exhibition

Explore the past, present, and future of the oil and gas industry in Texas and how it impacts the country and the world.

  • Discover the wealth of early prospectors through artifact highlights such as a beaded opera cape, tuxedo, and alligator bag
  • Learn the story of environmental impacts and technological advancements through unique objects including historic cartoons, a "Christmas tree," portable well fluid tester, and perforating gun 
  • Marvel at the scale of the industry while viewing a working pump jack and floor-to-ceiling wall of products made from oil

Multi-media and interactive highlights include: 

  • Short video interviews demonstrating the diversity of careers within the oil industry
  • Touchable rock samples, crankable drill bits, and a UV box to demonstrate fluorescence 
  • Large-scale infographics explaining processes, geology, and distribution
  • Immersive flyover footage of two off-shore oil rigs

Funding provided through the generosity of members of the Texas Oil & Gas Association: 

Concho Resources, Inc.,
Pioneer Natural Resources Company
Chevron
EOG Resources, Inc.
ExxonMobil Corporation
ConocoPhillips
QEP Resources, Inc.
Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.
Energy Transfer Partners
Occidental Petroleum Corporation
Shell Exploration and Production Company
Marathon Oil Company

Support for the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and education programs is provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.