Imposing 1958 thematic map of global crude oil production

Imp. Lafayette, LE PÉTROLE DANS LE MONDE. Paris: Union des chambres syndicales de l’industrie du pétrole, 1958.
Poster printed in colors, 36 1/8”h x 46 ¼”w at neat line plus margins. Folds as issued, else excellent.

An interesting and eminently displayable poster with thematic maps and charts depicting the global production, transport and refining of crude oil as of 1956.

The main map provides an overview of the production and transport of crude oil around the world. Regions shaded bright red represent fields “in exploitation”, those shaded green are likely to contain oil reserves, and orange circles and drilling-rig symbols are sized in rough proportion to the output of the major oil-producing countries. Gray arrows indicate the main sea lanes by which crude oil was shipped; using the “flow map” technique pioneered a century earlier by Charles Joseph Minard, the arrows are sized in proportion, more or less, to the volumes of oil transported on each route.

Below the main map three insets provide detailed depictions of three of the four main oil-producing regions: Venezuela, North America and the Middle East (The fourth region, the Soviet Union, is not so treated, perhaps because at the time it was minimally integrated with the global economy.) As on the main map, red shading indicates active oil fields, and orange circles indicate volume of production in different regions. In addition, small black circles and larger black stars indicate refineries, while red lines delineate the routes of pipelines.

A chart at lower left indicates how the volume and location of oil production had changed between 1900 and 1956, while a similar chart at lower right demonstrates the growing importance of oil in the overall energy “mix” during the same period (Naturally, “renewables” are nowhere in evidence.) Finally, a small inset map at center left depicts the impact of Abdul Nasser’s closer of the Suez Canal in late 1956 on the global flow of crude oil.

A present-day map of crude oil production would look rather similar: The United States, the Mideast and Russia remain the top oil producers, though Venezuela’s near-total collapse has greatly reduced its role in the market. Conversely, Brazil, China and Norway, among others, which have no presence on this 1958 map, have in recent decades become significant producers of crude oil, while of course Japan, China and the countries of Southeast Asia have all become major consumers.

The map was published by the Union des Chambres syndicales de l’industrie du pétrole, an association of trade unions in the French petroleum sector established in 1944. Not named, but I assume integral to the workings and funding of the Union, was the French multinational Total (formerly CFP), founded in 1924 and today considered one of the seven “supermajor” oil companies.

OCLC 12625662 et al, giving six institutional holdings worldwide, with just two in the United States (Univ. of Illinois, Univ. of Pittsburgh).