No thoughtful observer will presume to gainsay the all-important part which the oil business plays and will continue to play in the industrial, commercial and social life of the civilized world. Long before the great war this fact was deeply impressive, and was generally recognized. At the end of that conflict it was said with much truth that the Allies had floated to victory upon a sea of oil. Now, standing as we are at the threshold of a new era rich in industrial and commercial promise, no man can foresee nor even approximate the mighty expansion which will characterize the business in the near and more remote future. This much, however, appears certain. Petroleum products are now practically indispensable to the progress of modern industry and commerce. In a somewhat less degree they enter into almost every phase of the daily life of civilized peoples. Therefore, all other considerations aside, the growth and advancement of this pursuit will undoubtedly keep pace with the natural expansion in other lines of endeavor. But this assurance is a mere aspect of what the future holds for the oil business. No substance now known possesses within itself greater potential capacity to serve mankind. The chemical and physical researches of the industry calculated to discover new uses for petroleum and its products and to derive new properties therefrom are yet in their infancy. In view of the appalling economic crisis which confronts most of the countries, the science of the enterprise will put itself to the unceasing task of extracting new values from petroleum and of finding new and more general uses for these new discoveries, as well as for discoveries made in the past. In these circumstances, pointing as they do to an enormous and ever-increasing demand for the commodity, the question of an adequate supply of crude material reaches the highest importance. Even now, with much more of the industry and trade of the world in a state of partial paralysis, and with all of the American fields at least being exploited to their uttermost, the crude supply barely meets the demand. Whether this equilibrium can be maintained, or even approximated, when the normal activities of men are again fully resumed is at present a matter of gravest concern to the industry.
James A. Veasey,
Law of Oil and Gas,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol18/iss6/2