Platts Oilgram News chief editor Gary Gentile reflects on the history of the Oilgram publications as they mark their 100th anniversary.
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June 9 marks the 100th anniversary of Platts Oilgram, the revolutionary brainchild of Warren C. Platt who understood the need for transparency, immediacy and integrity in the often murky world of oil and refined product pricing.
Platt was already the publisher of the weekly National Petroleum News, but he responded to the need for daily prices by launching a two-page mimeographed newsletter called Oilgram, which is the progenitor of today's Platts Oilgram News and Platts Oilgram Price Report.
The original Oilgram was published "every buying day" and designed to bring readers "just the information you need for quick and confident action," according to an advertisement in NPN. Warren Platt promised the publication would provide the latest information on refinery markets, crude markets, tank wagon price changes and "all important news developments to guide you in properly gauging the oil situation."
And subscribers got it all for the mere price of $75 per year if paid in advance, or $100 if paid quarterly!
The first issue was dated June 9, 1923. Ten years later, as the administration of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised more oversight of the oil industry, Platt launched a separate daily news bulletin mailed in the same envelope as the pricing newsletter. The news supplement proved to be so popular that in 1934 it was launched as a separate daily publication, Oilgram News Service.
The new publication contained important dispatches from Washington regulators, as well as brief news items covering oil production around the country and other essential information.
By the time Warren Platt sold his publications to McGraw-Hill in 1953, the two Oilgram publications were essential reading for any oil executive and for lawyers, regulators and all those for whom fast, accurate prices and news were essential.
Today, Platts Oilgram News and Platts Oilgram Price Report are required reading for anyone wanting to keep pace with an ever-changing industry that embraces energy transition technologies such as hydrogen and electric vehicles as much as it did tank wagons and "nodding donkey" drilling rigs back in the 1920s.
Over the years, our publications have reported on groundbreaking events, such as the formation of OPEC in 1960, the energy crisis in the 1970s, the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and, most recently, the inclusion of WTI Midland into the Platts Dated Brent benchmark.
Readers trust Oilgram to report the latest information on swift-changing sanctions and trade flows across the globe. From Tehran to Caracas, from China to India, Oilgram reports the essential information that moves markets and, in the words of a 1923 advertisement, "the important developments that you, as an oil executive, should know at the earliest possible moment."
Please join us in celebrating this milestone. We invite you to share your memories as we embark on our second century of service to this vital industry. Send your comments to email@example.com or share on LinkedIn, including #PlattsOilgram100 in your post.