1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Maps of Oil Fields before 1944

Discussion in 'World History' started by Konig15, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Konig15

    Konig15 Warlord

    Nov 4, 2007
    I am doing research for a scenario I call Worldwar 44, and a big part of that fighting over control of oil fields and refineries. The problem is Wikipedia is not super helpful with regard to this:


    That's a lot of fields, but it doesn't include major pre-Cold War oilfields like Ploesti, Baku nor any in the Indonesian archipelago, all of which were MAJOR World War 2 objectives.

    I mean, I'm from Ohio and I had no idea until I just looked it up that while Ohio doesn't have an oil field listed on the wiki page, we HAVE produced a billion barrels of oil since 1860. Dwarfed by California, to say nothing of Texas? Sure, but nothing to sneeze at. And recently I found an oil production list for 1940. The US wasn't just the Saudi Arabia of the pre-Cold War Era, we were singlehandedly the OPEC of the period.

    I need an idea of where these oil fields are, especially in Europe, North America, Siberia and where exactly the oil fields existed in Indonesia.
  2. AnthonyBoscia

    AnthonyBoscia Emperor

    Feb 7, 2010
    As you said, the United States utterly dominated oil production during this period, both in crude and refined products. The oil boom made Texas, which became the oil capital of the world. Oklahoma and Cali also had massive oil industries, followed by Louisiana and Kansas . These states also benefited from industries such as aviation plants and military bases due to their climates and proximity to major shipping ports. Here is U.S. petroleum by state at the outbreak of war:

    Spoiler :

    In the Americas outside the U.S., Venezuela and to a lesser extent Colombia were major crude producers. Venezuelan crude from the Maracaibo Basin was refined in Dutch Curaçao for export. Canada and Mexico had small industries as well in Alberta and Poza Rica. Pemex was founded in 1938 with the nationalization of Mexican oil.

    Soviet oil production was based at Maykop, Grozny, and Baku. Baku was far and away the most important. Despite his neat Baku birthday cake, Hitler never got his grubby hands on the bulk of Soviet oil, which wouldn't have mattered because the Germans never would have been able to take refineries in one piece and transport the oil across the long and dangerous front. Siberian oil wasn't really tapped into until the 70s. The Soviet Union and Japan also negotiated on the modest Sakhalin petroleum production as well.

    The oil industry in the Dutch East Indies was centered on Palembang, including Shell's Pladjoe and Soengei Gerong refineries. Brunei in British Borneo was also rapidly expanding its oil production in the 30s. These were Japan's objectives but they never were enough to fully supply Japan's war needs after their capture.

    In Europe, there were the Romanian oil fields of Ploiești, of course, which were Germany's primary source. Later Hitler tried desperately to hold onto Hungary's small oil industry in 1945 but this was spitting in the wind when faced with the United Nations' overwhelming resources. German synthetic oil grew rapidly in the war years but it was never going to be enough to cover Germany's needs, to say nothing of its allies and conquered territories, who were catapulted back to the 19th century in terms of transportation.

    The Middle East wouldn't reach its position of oil supremacy until well after the war, although Iranian production had already been ramping up. British possessions such as Iraq and Kuwait were modest producers, and the birth of the Saudi oil industry came in the early 40s. I think the limitations in the Middle East and North Africa were technological at this point, but don't quote me on that.

    Overall the situation was pretty abysmal for the Axis, with little chance for them to secure enough petroleum for an extended war.

    CIA overview of Soviet petroleum industry ca. 1950:


    Annual crude production for Axis and Allies during the war by country:

    https://www.lago-colony.com/CRUDE_OIL_PRODUCTION/production chart WORLD 001.jpg
  3. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

    Nov 16, 2003
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    USA and Venezuela were the major sources.

    Getting Baku wouldn't have done much for the Germans. Catastrophic loss for Soviets though. Baku basically won the war for the Soviets.

    Middle east was a minor area, even if the Germans got it they could refine or transport the oil.

    Ironically Libya had all the oil the Axis needed but it was a post war development.

Share This Page