The oldest oil mine in the world is located in Bóbrka near Krosno. Presently it serves as the Ignacy Łukasiewicz Museum of Oil and Gas Industry. Ignacy Łukasiewicz, pharmacist by education, is the father of the global oil industry who established the first oil mine and distillery in the world.
Numerous oil mines operating since the 19th century may be observed in the geopark, e.g. in Iwonicz Zdrój, Rymanów, Wietrzno, Rogi, Bóbrka, Potok, Krosno, Krościenko, Grabownica Starzeńska, Turze Pole, and Węglówka.
Oil fields derive from rocks rich in organic matter, particularly dark shales. Rocks being the origin of hydrocarbons are referred to as source rocks. Organic matter is transformed into oil in rocks heated up to over 60°C. Such a temperature is found over 2 km below ground surface. Oil is generated in conditions of up to 4 km and 120°C, while gas is formed at greater depths and temperatures. Organic matter in shales, giving origin to oil and gas, derives mainly from planktonic, microscopic and unicellular algae (chrysophytes) and protozoans (foraminifers, radiolarians and diatoms).
Biomarkers are substances that allow scientists to identify organisms being the source of organic matter in rocks or oil. Oil from each field shows a unique chemical composition. Oil may be heavy and dense as grease or light and pale as kerosene. Oil, before getting to a petrol station from the mine, usually must be properly processed in the refinery.
Light oil is recovered from the Turze Pole field. Its quality is so high that it can be used as fuel in some diesel engines without earlier purification in a refinery. From the source rock, hydrocarbons move (migrate) upwards and accumulate in porous sandstones, forming a field. The field must be isolated by overlying impermeable rocks called sealing rocks, mainly clayey shales. Porous sandstones accumulating oil and gas are referred to as reservoir rocks. Reservoir and sealing rocks form the so-called hydrocarbon trap.
In the Flysch Carpathians, traps develop in upward-convex folds – anticlines. The area of park includes numerous anticlines with hydrocarbon deposits, e.g. anticlines of Iwonicz, Bóbrka, Potok, Turze Pole, and Grabownica. The black, brown and beige Menilite Shales are the main source rock for hydrocarbons. The rocks are of Oligocene age, i.e. 34-23 mln years old.