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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Oil Industry

Oil Industry.

The Moturoa Petroleum Company, Limited, has its head office in Devon Street, New Plymouth. Since the early fifties efforts have been made to utilise the mineral oils of Taranaki. Two companies were formed in London in the early days. The first was known as the People's Company, and subsequently a company was formed by the late Sir Julius Vogel. Money was expended in connection with the establishment of a plant, and the company put down a bore to the depth of 900 feet. In October, 1904, the South Australian Company acquired the plant, and continued operations till January, 1905, when the Moturoa Petroleum Company bought the concern. Work has been vigorously continued, and the bore was at a depth of 2100 feet when the Moturoa Company took possession. The depth is now (May, 1906) about 2400 feet. At that date the plant at Moturoa consisted of a fifteen horse-power engine, which made forty-five strokes per minute. The oil and water pumped up flowed into a tank, the capacity of which was 4,400 gallons. The petroleum rose to the top of the water, and was then skimmed off as required. A very large sum of money in the aggregate has been spent in connection with this industry, and in April, 1906, clean oil, totally free from water, began to flow from the bore in an uninterrupted stream.

Mr. George Charles Fair, who has been manager of the Company since its formation, has had large experience in Canada, and other parts of the world in connection with oil works.