West Virginia State Museum Education

West Virginia's Oil and Gas Industry

State Industries

The Oil and Gas Industry

burning springs

Early oil drilling at Burning Springs, Wirt County West Virginia State Archives


Oil and gas became important resources in West Virginia in the late 1800 and early 1900s. Oil was found in Burning Springs in Wirt County by two brothers named Rathbone who were drilling for salt and found oil instead. Burning Springs was the site of the first commercial (operated for profit) oil well.

Natural gas has been produced from wells since the early 1900s. Pipelines were built to enable the gas to be transported for use in factories and heat homes. West Virginia is among the top ten producers of natural gas in the United States. Our state is experiencing a new gas boom in the 21st century with the development of technology to extract natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Helpful Links

e-West Virginia Natural Gas and Petroleum Information

e-West Virginia Burning Springs Oil Field Information

e-West Virginia I.C. White Information

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survery's History of WV Mineral Industries -Oil and Gas

West Virginia Geological and Economic Survery's Maps and GIS Files Related to WV Geology

West Virginia Department of Enegery Webpage

MH3WV.org's Oil and Natural Gas Resources