An industry transition

Debra Ferguson Technology Editor "Call me Ishmael." These simple words begin Herman Melville's iconic 1851 novel, Moby Dick. As discussed in high school or lower-level college English classes, this short introduction opens the tale of Captain Ahab's command of the whaleship Pequot on a revenge-driven quest for a white sperm whale credited with severing Ahab's leg. What is not discussed in English classes, however, is that the whaling industry that provides the backdrop of the story was actually the oil industry that preceded petroleum. The 'old' oil industry The earlier oil industry resembles the current one: The quest for oil was hard, dirty, and sometimes dangerous work. The p...

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