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Profile America — Wednesday, August 27th. The U.S. petroleum industry got its start on this date in 1859 when blacksmith William Smith saw a dark film floating on the surface of the water in a hole he was boring near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Rising from a depth of just 69 feet, it was the oil he was seeking for his employer, Edwin Drake. Soon, the nation's first commercial oil well was pumping out crude oil. Western Pennsylvania was the center of the infant industry, as new uses were found for the long familiar product. Today, there are over 530,000 oil wells in the U.S., producing about 7 million barrels per day. Some 8,000 businesses engage in extracting oil and gas, employing 125,000 people in a $333 billion a year industry. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
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