Model of a platform facility for refining petrol, 1959

© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Chemical Production Engineering
1950 - 1959

This model illustrates the huge boom in the petrochemical industry in the 20th century. The original was designed for a capacity of 350,000 tonnes a year.

Drilling as a means of extracting oil began around 1860. With the emergence of the combustion engine it was used increasingly as fuel. The US, Canada, Russian Baku (now in Azerbaijan) and Austrian Galicia (present-day Ukraine) were among the first oil-producing regions. By 1909 the industry was employing no fewer than 5,500 workers in those regions. Back then Galicia was still ranked third (after the US and Russia) among the world’s oil-producing countries, with a share of five per cent. The first refinery on the territory of present-day Austria was founded in Floridsdorf near Vienna in 1864. By the time the First World War broke out, 370 employees were already processing 48,000 tonnes of oil, mainly from Galicia.

After the break-up of the Habsburg monarchy and the loss of the Galician oil fields, Austria’s First Republic was dependent on oil imports. In 1930 oil was discovered in the Vienna basin, with further oil deposits found in the years thereafter. After World War II this particular sector was taken over by the Soviet Crude Oil Administration and expanded. In 1955 the oil installations and refineries were returned to Austria and nationalised; the workforce totalled just under 13,000 employees. Soon thereafter the ÖMV (Österreichische Mineralölverwaltung AG) began with the construction of a large refinery at Schwechat, outside Vienna. The new facilities replaced five older refineries in Schwechat, Moosbierbaum, Korneuburg, Lobau and Vösendorf (all in the province of Lower Austria). The Schwechat refinery produced urgently needed goods for the domestic market, i.e. high-grade petrol (gasoline), aviation fuel, low-sulphur heating oil, and petrochemical products such as polypropylene plastics. It also refined imported crude. This model at the Technisches Museum Wien was made for the ÖMV.

Manufacturer: Lurgi Gesellschaft für Mineralöltechnik m. b. H., Frankfurt am Main

Manufacturing period: 1959

Inv.Nr. 31834

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