The city of Ploiesti in Prahova County on the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, 60 km north of Bucharest, was one of the first communities in Europe to prosper from the growth of the oil industry, The first oil refinery in Romania, and the third in the world, was built by Marin Mehedinteanu at nearby Rifov in 1857, and from the following year its output of kerosene was used to light the city of Bucharest. Some important developments in oil extraction technology were made in the Ploiesti region, including a drilling machine perfected between 1893 and 1896 by the German pioneer of drilling technology, Anton Raky (1868-1943), which is displayed in the Deutsches Museum, Munich. Improvements in processing technology were incorporated in refineries opened at nearby Cimpina in 1897, and at Ploiesti itself in 1904. The oil wells in the region were of great strategic importance during the Second World War, and almost all the installations were destroyed in 1944-45.
The National Museum of the Oil Industry was established in 1957, the centenary year of the industry.
It holds extensive collections of machines and tools. Ploiesti now has a population of some 300,000 people, but in recent decades many wells have run dry and the rate of extraction has been reduced.