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Peklenica - The birth place of the petroleum industry

30 July 2012

The beginning of industrial oil extraction in the world is mostly cited in specialized literature as 1859, when Edwin L. Drake in Titusvilleu, a small town in Pennsylvania in the United States, built the first oil well. However, in the small Međimurje village of Peklenica they tend to disagree and argue that three years earlier, in 1856, the first organized oil extraction in the world began in their village and that it was then that the petroleum industry was born. They point out that the first concession for oil was given out in their village in 1858. Therefore they decided to create a petroleum memorial park which could become a real tourist attraction.

"Welcome to Peklenica, the first oil field in the world" is a sentence that greets visitors at the entrance to the park and village, where the last oil source is fenced in, because as the locals like to say, the oil rises to the surface by itself. Above the source is a wooden tripod through which the oil was once extracted.

The first to exploit the oil in Peklenica was Count Juraj Feštetić on whose farm the "black gold" came out. He was the first to realize the possibilities from the collection of oil and had a four meter hole dug, from which three workers gathered the black liquid with containers. It was the first organized extraction of oil in the world. Eventually Feštetić drilled more wells, and sold the oil to the surrounding villages.

The first distillates of crude oil were produced in 1859 in Slovenia and it was kerosene and lubricating oil. The first significant oil exploitation began in the early 80s of the 19th century, when the Austro-Hungarian authorities realized the potential of Peklenica oil fields, Peklenica I and Peklenica II, measuring 72 acres in surface. This was during the oil rush that had engulfed the world. In those days there were three wells with a depth of 350 meters. From 1911 to 1914 the London Budapest Oil Syndicate drilled a hole that was 510 meters in depth. From 1932 to 1940 oil production in the whole of Yugoslavia was 5884 tones, of which only in Peklenica 4098 tones were extracted. After the Second World War the field was shut down because it was declared unprofitable.

The Tourist Board of Međimurje County

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