Italians discover the oil in Libya in 1939/1940

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Visionist
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Italians discover the oil in Libya in 1939/1940

Post by Visionist » 11 Apr 2008 15:11

I predict that Hitler will apply heavy pressure on Mussolini to take advantage of this rich new fuel source.
The Med will suddenly become a very important theater of war for Germany, and even more so for Britain.

Jon G.
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Re: Italians discover the oil in Libya in 1939/1940

Post by Jon G. » 11 Apr 2008 15:43

That is an interesting scenario. Also see these threads:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=90985

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=75837

Could you please expand you point of view a bit? When do you suggest that the oil was found and when do you suggest the Italians would begin using it? Would Italy act differently in its international relations if it had a stable supply of oil?

Agip began searching for oil in Libya in the 1930s. AFAIK some small wells were opened, but other potentially oil-rich fields couldn't be exploited because 1930s-era drilling equipment couldn't drill deeply enough. The Italians were world leading experts in water drilling (also in Libya), so assuming that water drilling and oil drilling are related trades the problem of too deep wells probably couldn't be solved by hiring foreign expertise.

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Re: Italians discover the oil in Libya in 1939/1940

Post by Jon G. » 11 Apr 2008 16:04

Here is something about the hunt for oil in Libya in 1939/1940:
...In July 1937, oil and gas were encountered
near Tripoli, while drilling a well for water. This was the first sign of hydrocarbons in Libya. In record breaking times, AGIP unloaded 4 drilling rigs at Tripoli in March 1938: one Moore percussion, able to drill
to a depth of 600 meters and three rotary ones, a real innovation for the time. Of
these three rotary rigs, two were Calix Davis type, with a potential of 600 meters
(2.000 ft), while the third one, a very powerful Trauzl Davis, could reach depth up
to 1.500 meters (5.000 ft).

To start exploration, 8 stratigraphic wells, all positioned by Desio, were drilled to
depths less than 500 meters (1.600 ft) while a ninth was drilled to 1.519 meters
(4.982 ft), a record for Libya until after war. All the wells had been located on
surface geological evidence, without the reflection seismic support. Mr. Cobolli
Gigli AGIP’s Chairman, while visiting AGIP operations in Libya in May 1940,
warmly recommended to use the seismic system. In fact the Company was
contracting an American seismic crew of Western Geophysical to work in Italy
where it arrived on 10th of June 1940, the same day Italy entered the WWII. The war
made impossible the utilization of seismic in Libya. Drilling continued until mid
1941 but it was interrupted because the war was reaching Tripoli... From this pdf paper

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Re: Italians discover the oil in Libya in 1939/1940

Post by Visionist » 11 Apr 2008 16:59

Thankyou Jon. It seems in retrospect I might have known such a lucrative topic already existed if I had merely run a short search :oops:

The question remains however, as to what Japan's moves would have been had the Manchurian crude been discovered pre Pacific War...

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