M. L. F. Nascimento


In the Brazilian popular imagination, the discovery of oil was announced on August 9, 1938, by the Viscount of Corncob. The Donabentense Oil Company drilled Caraminguá’s first well, near the creek that passed through the Yellow Woodpecker Ranch (“Sítio do Picapau Amarelo,” in colloquial Portuguese). The latter was the name of a famous Brazilian children’s book. In fact, the first oil well flowed in Salvador, Bahia, on January 21, 1939, discovered by Manoel Ignácio Bastos (1891 - 1940), a Brazilian geographer engineer, whose business partner, Oscar Salvador Cordeiro (1890 - 1970), was the president of the Bahia Commodities Exchange. A brief analysis of documents, such as reports, Brazilian decrees and executive orders, as well as newspapers, detail the actions of these Brazilian oil pioneers. Statistical data analysis was also performed about onshore and offshore oil production between 1941 and 2019, as a part of Bastos and Cordeiros’ heritage.


Petroleum; fuel; sociotechnical perspective; Brazil

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